In the 21st century, tuberculosis (TB) remains one of the world’s largest public health problems. Despite the fact that with timely diagnosis and proper treatment most people can be cured, this disease causes death of 5000 people every day. (more about tuberculosis)
Tuberculosis control is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as organized measures and activities of all stakeholders in the area of prevention, diagnosis and treatment with the aim of reducing tuberculosis incidence and mortality in the population.
The greatest progress in TB control in the world over the last two decades has been achieved through development and wide implementation of WHO TB control strategies, combination of technical and organizational measures that provided a good relationship between diagnostics and treatment effectively achieved in the community.
The implementation of the WHO DOTS Strategy (Directly Observed Treatment Short Course) from 1994 to 2005 strengthened the health systems and established basic conditions for diagnosis and treatment in order to reduce TB transmission and prevent development of resistant forms of the disease. The STOP TB Strategy was based on the previous strategy with the aim to stop the development of TB. Its implementation from 2006 to 2015 was focused on combating resistant forms of TB, associated TB and HIV infections and the promotion of research. This was achieved by strengthening the health systems, expanding partnerships with all health professionals, as well as with civil society organizations and the community.
Elimination of tuberculosis, as a public health problem, requires further expansion of the scope and range of diagnostic and therapeutic interventions including TB prevention. Practically, continuation of progress in disease control globally after 2015 requires more intensive activities within and outside the tuberculosis program, both within and outside the health care system. In 2012-2014, the latest WHO strategy, End TB Strategy was adopted for the period 2016 – 2035, with the aim of TB elimination as a public health problem in line with the Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development Goals.
Since 2003, National Tuberculosis Control Program in Serbia has been implemented in accordance with the latest WHO strategies, within the National Program for the Health Protection of the Population against Infectious Diseases, for the period 2002-2010 and 2015-2020 (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia”, No. 29/2002 and “Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia”, No. 22/2016). Implementation of the programmatic measures resulted in a decrease of the TB notification rate from 37 notified cases per 100,000 population in 2003 to 12/100,000 in 2016.