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Ethiopia | Tuberculosis


Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious bacterial disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which most commonly affects the lungs. It is transmitted from person to person via droplets from the throat and lungs of people with the active respiratory disease. In healthy people, infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis often causes no symptoms, since the person's immune system acts to “wall off” the bacteria. The symptoms of active TB of the lung are coughing, sometimes with sputum or blood, chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweats. Tuberculosis is treatable with a six-month course of antibiotics.

TBEthiopia is one of the 22 high burden countries (HBCs) and TB remains one of the leading causes of mortality.According to the 2014 WHO report, the prevalence and incidence of all forms of TB are 211 and 224 per 100,000 of the population, respectively. Excluding HIV related deaths, in 2013 TB mortality was estimated to be 32 per 100,000 of the population. About 13% of all new TB cases are also HIV coinfected.Moreover, Ethiopia is one of the high TB/HIV and multidrug resistant TB (MDR TB) burden countries. Among TB patients with known HIV status, about 11% were HIV co-infected. According to the recent national TB drug resistance surveillance report, 2.3% of new TB cases and 17.8% of previously treated TB cases were estimated to have MDR.

The Millennium Development Goal 6 target on reducing the TB incidence rate has already been achieved in Ethiopia. Nationally, the TB incidence rate has fallen to 224 per 100,000 of the population in 2013 compared 369 in 1990. The target of halving TB prevalence rate by 2015 has also been met; TB prevalence rate has fallen by 50.5%. Ethiopia has also achieved the target of 50% reduction of TB mortality rate: by 2013, the national TB mortality rate had decreased by 64%.

The WHO plays key role in leading and coordinating the health partners’ on TB/HIV and MDR TB, including Centers for Disease Control, USAID's TB CARE I and Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. WHO has been supporting the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) through the national TB Research Advisory Committee (TRAC) in setting TB and TB/HIV research priorities, in conducting operational research, dissemination of research findings and use of research results for policy guidance. The country office also supports the documentation and sharing of best practices, surveillance, as well as the adaption of global guidelines to the Ethiopian context. WHO continues to provide technical assistance to FMoH to ensure that all aspects of the new End TB Strategy are integrated and implemented nationally.

Contact: Dr Kassa Hailu Ketema, Tuberculosis, WHO Ethiopia; Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Photo: WHO Ethiopia/V. Erkkila 

icon ETHIOPIA_UPDATE sheet on TB programme_2014 [pdf: 468KB]

icon ETHIOPIA Update sheet on TB/HIV strategic information 2014 [pdf: 242KB]