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The Internet of Things to come: digital technologies and the End TB Strategy
  1. Dennis Falzon,
  2. Mario Raviglione
  1. Global TB Programme, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Dennis Falzon; falzond{at}

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In his prescient novel of 1933—The Shape of Things to Come—the English writer H.G. Wells described the years from 1978 to 2059 as a time of profound social change, reinforced structures of global control and close scrutiny of human activity, as efforts united towards the creation of a utopian World State.1 From a global health perspective, the past four decades have clearly left an indelible mark. The Alma Ata declaration of 1978 heralded a worldwide shift in decentralisation of healthcare and empowerment of communities.2 The international mobilisation to address major epidemics like AIDS, vector-borne diseases and tuberculosis bore dividends. And, digital technology has facilitated epidemiological studies, research and effective advocacy through culturally appropriate social marketing techniques. Building on such successes in the face of future challenges and opportunities will require continued concerted action if public health concerns such as tuberculosis are to be consigned to history.

In 2014, the World Health Assembly resolved to end the tuberculosis epidemic in the 20 years following 2015.3 The implementation of this ‘End TB Strategy’ will require new approaches to prevent and treat the disease, including broad-scale action on poverty and determinants of tuberculosis, aligned fully with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).4 This implies a change in the values that governed anti-tuberculosis (TB) interventions until 2015. The ‘all-of-government’ approach to public health has to devolve to a larger ‘all-of-society’ base. The primacy of cost in priority-setting, imposed by successive years of financial adversity, needs to yield to more holistic precepts. These include the moral and solidarity principles posed by a largely curable disease which is often fatal, and the negative impact of …

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