Knut Lönnroth

World Health Organization WHO, Genève, GE, Switzerland

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Publications (82)505.12 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: This paper describes an action framework for countries with low tuberculosis (TB) incidence (<100 TB cases per million population) that are striving for TB elimination. The framework sets out priority interventions required for these countries to progress first towards "pre-elimination" (<10 cases per million) and eventually the elimination of TB as a public health problem (less than one case per million). TB epidemiology in most low-incidence countries is characterised by a low rate of transmission in the general population, occasional outbreaks, a majority of TB cases generated from progression of latent TB infection (LTBI) rather than local transmission, concentration to certain vulnerable and hard-to-reach risk groups, and challenges posed by cross-border migration. Common health system challenges are that political commitment, funding, clinical expertise and general awareness of TB diminishes as TB incidence falls. The framework presents a tailored response to these challenges, grouped into eight priority action areas: 1) ensure political commitment, funding and stewardship for planning and essential services; 2) address the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach groups; 3) address special needs of migrants and cross-border issues; 4) undertake screening for active TB and LTBI in TB contacts and selected high-risk groups, and provide appropriate treatment; 5) optimise the prevention and care of drug-resistant TB; 6) ensure continued surveillance, programme monitoring and evaluation and case-based data management; 7) invest in research and new tools; and 8) support global TB prevention, care and control. The overall approach needs to be multisectorial, focusing on equitable access to high-quality diagnosis and care, and on addressing the social determinants of TB. Because of increasing globalisation and population mobility, the response needs to have both national and global dimensions. The content of this work is ©the authors or their employers. Design and branding are ©ERS 2015.
    European Respiratory Journal 03/2015; DOI:10.1183/09031936.00214014 · 7.13 Impact Factor
  • Knut Lönnroth
  • Marieke J van der Werf, Knut Lönnroth
    The Lancet Infectious Diseases 12/2014; 14(12):1171-2. DOI:10.1016/S1473-3099(14)70998-3 · 19.45 Impact Factor
  • Annals of internal medicine 11/2014; 161(9):670-1. DOI:10.7326/M14-1888 · 16.10 Impact Factor
  • Knut Lönnroth, Diana E Weil
    The Lancet Infectious Diseases 10/2014; 14(11). DOI:10.1016/S1473-3099(14)70964-8 · 19.45 Impact Factor
  • Knut Lönnroth, Gojka Roglic, Anthony D Harries
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    ABSTRACT: Diabetes triples the risk of tuberculosis and is also a risk factor for adverse tuberculosis treatment outcomes, including death. Prevalence of diabetes is increasing globally, but most rapidly in low-income and middle-income countries where tuberculosis is a grave public health problem. Growth in this double disease burden creates additional obstacles for tuberculosis care and prevention. We review how the evolution of evidence on the link between tuberculosis and diabetes has informed global policy on collaborative activities, and how practice is starting to change as a consequence. We conclude that coordinated planning and service delivery across communicable and non-communicable disease programmes is necessary, feasible, and creates synergies that will help to reduce the burden of both tuberculosis and diabetes.
    09/2014; 2(9):730–739. DOI:10.1016/S2213-8587(14)70109-3
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    ABSTRACT: Tuberculosis (TB) remains a major global public health problem. In all societies, the disease affects the poorest individuals the worst. A new post-2015 global TB strategy has been developed by WHO, which explicitly highlights the key role of universal health coverage (UHC) and social protection. One of the proposed targets is that "No TB affected families experience catastrophic costs due to TB." High direct and indirect costs of care hamper access, increase the risk of poor TB treatment outcomes, exacerbate poverty, and contribute to sustaining TB transmission. UHC, conventionally defined as access to health care without risk of financial hardship due to out-of-pocket health care expenditures, is essential but not sufficient for effective and equitable TB care and prevention. Social protection interventions that prevent or mitigate other financial risks associated with TB, including income losses and non-medical expenditures such as on transport and food, are also important. We propose a framework for monitoring both health and social protection coverage, and their impact on TB epidemiology. We describe key indicators and review methodological considerations. We show that while monitoring of general health care access will be important to track the health system environment within which TB services are delivered, specific indicators on TB access, quality, and financial risk protection can also serve as equity-sensitive tracers for progress towards and achievement of overall access and social protection.
    PLoS Medicine 09/2014; 11(9):e1001693. DOI:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001693 · 15.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Even when tuberculosis (TB) treatment is free, hidden costs incurred by patients and their households (TB-affected households) may worsen poverty and health. Extreme TB-associated costs have been termed "catastrophic" but are poorly defined. We studied TB-affected households' hidden costs and their association with adverse TB outcome to create a clinically relevant definition of catastrophic costs.
    PLoS Medicine 07/2014; 11(7):e1001675. DOI:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001675 · 14.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In order to inform the development of appropriate strategies to improve financial risk protection, we conducted a systematic literature review of the financial burden of tuberculosis (TB) faced by patients and affected families. The mean total costs ranged from $55 to $8198, with an unweighted average of $847. On average, 20% (range 0–62%) of the total cost was due to direct medical costs, 20% (0–84%) to direct non-medical costs, and 60% (16–94%) to income loss. Half of the total cost was incurred before TB treatment. On average, the total cost was equivalent to 58% (range 5–306%) of reported annual individual and 39% (4–148%) of reported household income. Cost as percentage of income was particularly high among poor people and those with multidrug-resistant TB. Commonly reported coping mechanisms included taking a loan and selling household items. The total cost of TB for patients can be catastrophic. Income loss often constitutes the largest financial risk for patients. Apart from ensuring that healthcare services are fairly financed and delivered in a way that minimises direct and indirect costs, there is a need to ensure that TB patients and affected families receive appropriate income replacement and other social protection interventions.
    European Respiratory Journal 02/2014; 43(6). DOI:10.1183/09031936.00193413 · 7.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: People with TB and/or HIV frequently experience severe economic barriers to health care, including out-of-pocket expenses related to diagnosis and treatment, as well as indirect costs due to loss of income. These barriers can both aggravate economic hardship and prevent or delay diagnosis, treatment and successful outcome, leading to increased transmission, morbidity and mortality. WHO, UNAIDS and the ILO argue that economic support of various kinds is essential to enable vulnerable people to protect themselves from infection, avoid delayed diagnosis and treatment, overcome barriers to adherence, and avert destitution. This paper analyses successful country proposals to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria that include economic support in Rounds 7 and 10; 36 and 20 HIV and TB grants in Round 7 and 32 and 26, respectively, in Round 10. Of these, up to 84 percent included direct or indirect economic support for beneficiaries, although the amount constituted a very small proportion of the total grant. In TB grants, the objectives of economic support were generally clearly stated, and focused on mechanisms to improve treatment uptake and adherence, and the case was most clearly made for MDR-TB patients. In HIV grants, the objectives were much broader in scope, including mitigation of adverse economic and social effects of HIV and its treatment on both patients and families. The analysis shows that economic support is on the radar for countries developing Global Fund proposals, and a wide range of economic support activities are in place. In order to move forward in this area, the wealth of country experience that exists needs to be collated, assessed and disseminated. In addition to trials, operational research and programme evaluations, more precise guidance to countries is needed to inform evidence-based decision about activities that are cost-effective, affordable and feasible.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(1):e86225. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0086225 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The global burden of diabetes mellitus (DM) is immense, with numbers expected to rise to over 550 million by 2030. Countries in Asia, such as India and China, will bear the brunt of this unfolding epidemic. Persons with DM have a significantly increased risk of developing active tuberculosis (TB) that is two to three times higher than in persons without DM. This article reviews the epidemiology and interactions of these two diseases, discusses how the World Health Organization and International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease developed and launched the Collaborative Framework for the care and control of TB and DM, and examines three important challenges for care. These relate to 1) bi-directional screening of the two diseases, 2) treatment of patients with dual disease, and 3) prevention of TB in persons with DM. For each area, the gaps in knowledge and the priority research areas are highlighted. Undiagnosed, inadequately treated and poorly controlled DM appears to be a much greater threat to TB prevention and control than previously realised, and the problem needs to be addressed. Prevention of DM through attention to unhealthy diets, sedentary lifestyles and childhood and adult obesity must be included in broad non-communicable disease prevention strategies. This collaborative framework provides a template for action, and the recommendations now need to be implemented and evaluated in the field to lay down a firm foundation for the scaling up of interventions that work and are effective in tackling this dual burden of disease.
    11/2013; 3(S):S3–S9. DOI:10.5588/pha.13.0024
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    ABSTRACT: Passive case finding, the detection of tuberculosis (TB) cases among persons presenting to health facilities with symptoms suggestive of TB, has remained the principal public health approach for TB diagnosis. While this approach, in combination with improved treatment, has led to substantial global progress, the overall epidemiological impact has been inadequate. Stagnating case notifications and sluggish decline in incidence prompt the pursuit of a more active approach to TB case detection. Screening among contacts of TB patients and people living with human immunodeficiency virus infection, long recommended, needs scaling up. Screening in other risk groups may also be considered, depending on the epidemiological situation. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently produced recommendations on systematic screening for active TB, which set out principles and provide guidance on the prioritisation of risk groups for screening and choice of screening and diagnostic algorithms. With a view to help translate WHO recommendations into practice, this concluding article of the State of the Art series discusses programmatic approaches. Published literature is scanty. However, considerable field experience exists to draw important lessons. Cautioning against a hasty pursuit of active case finding, the article stresses that programmatic implementation of TB screening requires a systematic approach. Important considerations should include setting clear goals and objectives based on a thorough assessment of the situation; considering the place of TB screening in the overall approach to enhancing TB detection; identifying and prioritising risk groups; choosing appropriate screening and diagnostic algorithms; and pursuing setting-specific implementation strategies with engagement of relevant partners, due attention to ethical considerations and built-in monitoring and evaluation.
    The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 10/2013; 17(10):1248-56. DOI:10.5588/ijtld.13.0199 · 2.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Screening for tuberculosis (TB) disease aims to improve early TB case detection. The ultimate goal is to improve outcomes for people with TB and to reduce Mycobacterium tuberculosis transmission in the community through improved case detection, reduction in diagnostic delays and early treatment. Before screening programmes are recommended, evidence is needed of individual and/or community-level benefits. We conducted a systematic review of the literature to assess the evidence that screening for TB disease 1) initially increases the number of TB cases initiated on anti-tuberculosis treatment, 2) identifies cases earlier in the course of disease, 3) reduces mortality and morbidity, and 4) impacts on TB epidemiology. A total of 28 798 publications were identified by the search strategy: 27 087 were excluded on initial screening and 1749 on full text review, leaving 62 publications that addressed at least one of the study questions. Screening increases the number of cases found in the short term. In many settings, more than half of the prevalent TB cases in the community remain undiagnosed. Screening tends to find cases earlier and with less severe disease, but this may be attributed to case-finding studies using more sensitive diagnostic methods than routine programmes. Treatment outcomes among people identified through screening are similar to outcomes among those identified through passive case finding. Current studies provide insufficient evidence to show that active screening for TB disease impacts on TB epidemiology. Individual and community-level benefits from active screening for TB disease remain uncertain. So far, the benefits of earlier diagnosis on patient outcomes and transmission have not been established.
    The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 04/2013; 17(4):432-46. DOI:10.5588/ijtld.12.0743 · 2.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent data for the global burden of disease reflect major demographic and lifestyle changes, leading to a rise in non-communicable diseases. Most countries with high levels of tuberculosis face a large comorbidity burden from both non-communicable and communicable diseases. Traditional disease-specific approaches typically fail to recognise common features and potential synergies in integration of care, management, and control of non-communicable and communicable diseases. In resource-limited countries, the need to tackle a broader range of overlapping comorbid diseases is growing. Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS persist as global emergencies. The lethal interaction between tuberculosis and HIV coinfection in adults, children, and pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa exemplifies the need for well integrated approaches to disease management and control. Furthermore, links between diabetes mellitus, smoking, alcoholism, chronic lung diseases, cancer, immunosuppressive treatment, malnutrition, and tuberculosis are well recognised. Here, we focus on interactions, synergies, and challenges of integration of tuberculosis care with management strategies for non-communicable and communicable diseases without eroding the functionality of existing national programmes for tuberculosis. The need for sustained and increased funding for these initiatives is greater than ever and requires increased political and funder commitment.
    The Lancet Infectious Diseases 03/2013; 13(5). DOI:10.1016/S1473-3099(13)70015-X · 19.45 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The impact of current interventions to improve early detection of tuberculosis (TB) seems to have been saturated. Case detection trends have stagnated. TB incidence is falling in most settings worldwide, but the rate of decline is far lower than expected. There is growing evidence from national TB prevalence surveys and other research of a large pool of undetected TB in the community. Intensified efforts to further break down access barriers and scale up new and rapid diagnostic tools are likely to improve the situation. However, will these be enough? Or do we also need to reach out more towards people who do not actively seek care with well-recognisable TB symptoms? There have recently been calls to revisit TB screening, particularly in high-risk groups. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends screening for TB in people with human immunodeficiency virus infection and in close TB contacts. Should other risk groups also be screened systematically? Could mass, community-wide screening, which the WHO has discouraged over the past four decades, be of benefit in some situations? If so, what screening tools and approaches should be used? The WHO is in the process of seeking answers to these questions and developing guidelines on systematic screening for active TB. In this article, we present the rationale, definitions and key considerations underpinning this process.
    The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 03/2013; 17(3):289-98. DOI:10.5588/ijtld.12.0797 · 2.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The National Tuberculosis Programs of Ghana, Viet Nam and the Dominican Republic. To assess the direct and indirect costs of tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis and treatment for patients and households. Each country translated and adapted a structured questionnaire, the Tool to Estimate Patients' Costs. A random sample of new adult patients treated for at least 1 month was interviewed in all three countries. Across the countries, 27-70% of patients stopped working and experienced reduced income, 5-37% sold property and 17-47% borrowed money due to TB. Hospitalisation costs (US42-118) and additional food items formed the largest part of direct costs during treatment. Average total patient costs (US538-1268) were equivalent to approximately 1 year of individual income. We observed similar patterns and challenges of TB-related costs for patients across the three countries. We advocate for global, united action for TB patients to be included under social protection schemes and for national TB programmes to improve equitable access to care.
    The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 03/2013; 17(3):381-7. DOI:10.5588/ijtld.12.0368 · 2.76 Impact Factor
  • Addiction 10/2012; 108(1). DOI:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2012.04000.x · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In Bangladesh DOTS has been provided free of charge since 1993, yet information on access to TB services by different population group is not well documented. The objective of this study was to assess and compare the socio economic position (SEP) of actively detected cases from the community and the cases being routinely detected under National Tuberculosis Control Programme (NTP) in Bangladesh. SEP was assessed by validated asset item for each of the 21,427 households included in the national tuberculosis prevalence survey 2007-2009. A principal component analysis generated household scores and categorized in quartiles. The distribution of 33 actively identified cases was compared with the 240 NTP cases over the identical SEP quartiles to evaluate access to TB services by different groups of the population. The population prevalence of tuberculosis was 5 times higher in the lowest quartiles of population (95.4, 95% CI: 48.0-189.7) to highest quartile population (19.5, 95% CI: 6.9-55.0). Among the 33 cases detected during survey, 25 (75.8%) were from lower two quartiles, and the rest 8 (24.3%) were from upper two quartiles. Among TB cases detected passively under NTP, more than half of them 137 (57.1%) were from uppermost two quartiles, 98 (41%) from the second quartile, and 5 (2%) in the lowest quartile of the population. This distribution is not affected when adjusted for other factors or interactions among them. The findings indicate that despite availability free of charge, DOTS is not equally accessed by the poorer sections of the population. However, these figures should be interpreted with caution since there is a need for additional studies that assess in-depth poverty indicators and its determinants in relation to access of the TB services provided in Bangladesh.
    PLoS ONE 09/2012; 7(9):e44980. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0044980 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: A project was implemented in 2010 to improve TB notification and TB screening and diagnostic routines in large general hospitals. The aims of present study was to assess baseline TB screening and diagnostic practices in the three largest general hospitals in Viet Nam.Objectives To assess baseline TB screening and diagnostic practices in the three largest general hospitals in Viet Nam. METHOD: The study had three elements: 1) Focus group discussions with hospital physicians; 2) review of hospital records and structured interviews of people who had a chest X-ray on any indication; and 3) record reviews and structured interviews of people newly diagnosed with TB. RESULTS: The most commonly reported diagnostic pathway for pulmonary TB was chest X-ray followed by sputum-smear microscopy. Among 599 individuals who had a chest X-ray performed, 391 (65.1%) had recorded any abnormality, significantly higher in males (73.8%) than in females (54.7%), (p < 0.001), and the proportion was increasing with age (p <0.001). Among those with abnormal chest X-ray, 245 (69.2%) were investigated with sputum smear microscopy, and 49 (20%) were diagnosed with TB, of which 33 (13.5%) were smear-positive.Of 103 consecutive TB cases enrolled in the study, 92 (90%) had chest X-ray as the initial test. Sixty-three (61.2%) fulfilled the TB suspect criteria based on respiratory symptoms (productive cough >2 weeks). CONCLUSION: Chest X-ray is the preferred first test for TB in the largest hospitals in Viet Nam. Chest X-ray is a sensitive screening tool for TB, which should be followed by a confirmatory TB test. While the majority of those with chest X-ray abnormalities are investigated with smear-microscopy, the high sputum-smear positivity ratio among them suggests that sputum-smear microscopy is done mainly for persons with quite clear TB signs or symptoms. TB screening and use of confirmatory diagnostic tests on wider indications seem warranted.
    BMC Public Health 09/2012; 12(1):808. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-12-808 · 2.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective  There is a high burden of both diabetes (DM) and tuberculosis (TB) in China, and this study aimed to assess feasibility and results of screening patients with TB for DM within the routine healthcare setting of six health facilities. Method  Agreement on how to screen, monitor and record was reached in May 2011 at a stakeholders' meeting, and training was carried out for staff in the six facilities in July 2011. Implementation started in September 2011, and we report on 7 months of activities up to 31 March 2012. Results  There were 8886 registered patients with TB. They were first asked whether they had DM. If the answer was no, they were screened with a random blood glucose (RBG) followed by fasting blood glucose (FBG) in those with RBG ≥ 6.1 mm (one facility) or with an initial FBG (five facilities). Those with FBG ≥ 7.0 mm were referred to DM clinics for diagnostic confirmation with a second FBG. Altogether, 1090 (12.4%) patients with DM were identified, of whom 863 (9.7%) had a known diagnosis of DM. Of 8023 patients who needed screening for DM, 7947 (99%) were screened. This resulted in a new diagnosis of DM in 227 patients (2.9% of screened patients), and of these, 226 were enrolled to DM care. In addition, 575 (7.8%) persons had impaired fasting glucose (FBG 6.1 to <7.0 mm). Prevalence of DM was significantly higher in patients in health facilities serving urban populations (14.0%) than rural populations (10.6%) and higher in hospital patients (13.5%) than those attending TB clinics (8.5%). Conclusion  This pilot project shows that it is feasible to screen patients with TB for DM in the routine setting, resulting in a high yield of patients with known and newly diagnosed disease. Free blood tests for glucose measurement and integration of TB and DM services may improve the diagnosis and management of dually affected patients.
    Tropical Medicine & International Health 07/2012; DOI:10.1111/j.1365-3156.2012.03068.x · 2.30 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
505.12 Total Impact Points


  • 2004–2012
    • World Health Organization WHO
      • Stop TB (STB)
      Genève, GE, Switzerland
  • 2011
    • KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation
      's-Gravenhage, South Holland, Netherlands
  • 2010
    • Massachusetts General Hospital
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1999–2007
    • University of Gothenburg
      • Unit of Social Medicine
      Göteborg, Vaestra Goetaland, Sweden
    • Vietnam National University, Hanoi
      Hà Nội, Ha Nội, Vietnam
  • 2005
    • Sahlgrenska University Hospital
      Goeteborg, Västra Götaland, Sweden