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Cover of Same-Day Diagnosis of Tuberculosis by Microscopy: WHO Policy Statement

Same-Day Diagnosis of Tuberculosis by Microscopy: WHO Policy Statement


In 2009, the strength of the evidence for a 'same-day diagnosis' approach (microscopy of two consecutive sputum specimens on the same day) was assessed by the World Health Organization (WHO), following standards appropriate for evaluating both the accuracy and the effect of new interventions on patients and public health. It was found that there was sufficient generalizable evidence that a same-day diagnosis approach is equivalent, in terms of diagnostic accuracy, to conventional microscopy case-finding strategies.

Neveretheless, significant organizational and programme changes would be required to optimize the advantages of same-day diagnosis, to ensure that laboratory results are received back at the health facility and that patients start treatment on the same day. In addition, there is currently no evidence that early diagnosis of TB results in better uptake of treatment or improved treatment outcomes, so that programmes must closely monitor the effect of revised case-finding strategies.

On the basis of these findings, WHO recommends that countries that have successfully implemented current WHO policy for a two-specimen case-finding strategy consider switching to same-day diagnosis, especially in settings where patients are likely to default from the diagnostic process.

Countries that are still using the three-specimen case-finding strategy should consider a gradual change to same-day diagnosis, once WHO-recommended external microscopy quality assurance systems are in place and good-quality microscopy results have been documented. It is essential that programmatic, logistic and operational implications at country level be taken into account in implementation of same-day diagnosis.


The designations employed and the presentation of the material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the World Health Organization concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. Dotted lines on maps represent approximate border lines for which there may not yet be full agreement.

The mention of specific companies or of certain manufacturers’ products does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by the World Health Organization in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned. Errors and omissions excepted, the names of proprietary products are distinguished by initial capital letters.

All reasonable precautions have been taken by the World Health Organization to verify the information contained in this publication. However, the published material is being distributed without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. The responsibility for the interpretation and use of the material lies with the reader. In no event shall the World Health Organization be liable for damages arising from its use.

Copyright © 2011, World Health Organization.

All rights reserved. Publications of the World Health Organization are available on the WHO web site ( or can be purchased from WHO Press, World Health Organization, 20 Avenue Appia, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland (tel.: +41 22 791 3264; fax: +41 22 791 4857; e-mail: tni.ohw@sredrokoob).

Requests for permission to reproduce or translate WHO publications – whether for sale or for noncommercial distribution – should be addressed to WHO Press through the WHO web site (

Bookshelf ID: NBK131903PMID: 23586121


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