Survey data suggests that China has more than halved its tuberculosis (TB) problem, with rates falling from 170 to 59 per 100,000 population. The Lancet report says that the success of the falling rate is due to a huge expansion of a community-based disease control programme.
Other countries could also adopt a similar approach, says the World Health Organisation. China is a major contributor to the global TB pandemic, accounting for more than one-tenth of worldwide cases.
The Lancet report is based on a 20-year long analysis of national survey data, it has revealed the progress that China has made reducing the burden, BBC News reports. TB prevalence in China fell by 57 per cent by 2010, tripling the reduction of the previous decade.
"One of the key global TB targets set by the Stop TB Partnership aims to reduce tuberculosis prevalence by 50 per cent between 1990 and 2015," lead researcher Dr Yu Wang, from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing, said.
The 2014 World Health Assembly will look at eliminating TB and setting ambitious new targets which could include a 50 per cent reduction in tuberculosis prevalence between 2015 and 2025.
"This study in China is the first to show the feasibility of achieving such a target, and China achieved this give years earlier than the target date."
Giovanni Battista Migliori from WHO said other countries could learn from China: "The results from China show the feasibility of achieving such a target by aggressively scaling up the basic programmatic elements of tuberculosis control both within and outside the public sector."
TB remains a big issue in many countries including India, Russia and many African nations. The call for better diagnostic tools and treatments are still needed in the fight against the virus.