It is high time to change the approach to fighting tuberculosis (TB) as the death rates remain high at 1.5 million every year, says a new study published in The Lancet.
Researchers said the world is going to see worse epidemics of tuberculosis and more drug resistance unless there is less dependence on biomedical solutions and a greater emphasis on social action.
Also, drug-resistant strains are increasing and estimates show over 480,000 people developed multi-drug resistant TB in 2013.
The study conducted by researchers at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA.
Senior author Rifat Atun, professor of global health systems, said that despite adequate funding, progress on eliminating TB has been "woefully slow".
"We strongly argue that more of the same will not stop tuberculosis. The time has come for comprehensive actions to confront the root causes of tuberculosis, which lie in poverty and deprivation," Atun said.
In the study, Atun and his colleagues call for a "biosocial" approach to eliminate TB. The approach includes programs to tackle nutrition, urban planning, addiction recovery, occupational health and mental health services.
The authors say that TB is also fueled by social conditions such as malnutrition, overcrowded housing, HIV, diabetes, smoking and drinking too much alcohol.
They said that the benefits of improved diagnosis and treatment are not enough to offset the susceptibility in groups at risk of the disease in developing countries because of these social conditions.