Feasibility of achieving the 2025 WHO global tuberculosis targets in South Africa, China, and India: a combined analysis of 11 mathematical models

October 6, 2016


The post-2015 End TB Strategy proposes targets of 50% reduction in tuberculosis incidence and 75% reduction in mortality from tuberculosis by 2025. We aimed to assess whether these targets are feasible in three high-burden countries with contrasting epidemiology and previous programmatic achievements.

11 independently developed mathematical models of tuberculosis transmission projected the epidemiological impact of currently available tuberculosis interventions for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment in China, India, and South Africa. Models were calibrated with data on tuberculosis incidence and mortality in 2012. Representatives from national tuberculosis programmes and the advocacy community provided distinct country-specific intervention scenarios, which included screening for symptoms, active case finding, and preventive therapy.

Aggressive scale-up of any single intervention scenario could not achieve the post-2015 End TB Strategy targets in any country. However, the models projected that, in the South Africa national tuberculosis programme scenario, a combination of continuous isoniazid preventive therapy for individuals on antiretroviral therapy, expanded facility-based screening for symptoms of tuberculosis at health centres, and improved tuberculosis care could achieve a 55% reduction in incidence (range 31–62%) and a 72% reduction in mortality (range 64–82%) compared with 2015 levels. For India, and particularly for China, full scale-up of all interventions in tuberculosis-programme performance fell short of the 2025 targets, despite preventing a cumulative 3·4 million cases. The advocacy scenarios illustrated the high impact of detecting and treating latent tuberculosis.

Major reductions in tuberculosis burden seem possible with current interventions. However, additional interventions, adapted to country-specific tuberculosis epidemiology and health systems, are needed to reach the post-2015 End TB Strategy targets at country level.

Figure 2 shows baseline calibration and projections for incidence and mortality. In China, where models were calibrated to 2000 and 2010 prevalence targets, historical and projected trends were similar between models.


Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation