Advocates call on WHO leadership to act immediately and correct specific technical errors in the WHO guidelines for the treatment of drug-resistant TB.
On 23 April 2019, TB advocates sent an open letter to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), expressing their serious concerns about the WHO Global TB Program’s ability to issue evidence-based guidelines for the treatment of drug-resistant TB.
They pointed out that much of the guidance is technically sound and reflects the discussions of the Guideline Development Group (GDG), but that there are urgent and specific technical errors in the 2019 WHO consolidated guidelines on drug-resistant tuberculosis treatment and the 2018 WHO treatment guidelines for multidrug- and rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-/RR-TB) that require immediate action and correction.
“We note with alarm and frustration that the undersigned organizations have separately raised these errors—described in more detail with potential solutions in the attached letter— with Dr. Kasaeva and her team on multiple occasions following the conclusion of the GDG meeting in July of 2018. We remain disappointed by the lack of appropriate action and feel it is our obligation to clearly document and share these concerns with the highest levels of WHO leadership.”
The signatories requested a written response by 14 May 2019 detailing how the WHO plans to: (1) support the Global TB Program to address the errors in its current 2018/2019 MDR-/RR-TB treatment guidelines, and (2) improve the guideline development process so that future errors of this nature can be avoided.
To read the full letter, click here.
On 15 May 2019, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) responded acknowledging the need to continue to improve the processes for the development of guidelines as a core function of the WHO’s mandate as lead agency in Global Public Health. In its response Dr. Tedros indicated that the WHO Global TB Program will host a webinar on 22 May 2019 open to all TB stakeholders to discuss the points listed in the letter and “the ways to optimize processes and policy recommendations.” He also pointed out that “fresh new data on drug-resistant TB treatment will be available soon for WHO review, making it likely that some of your suggested changes may be reflected in the next update of the guidelines.”
To read the full response, click here.