WHO raises concern over countries’ slow response to end TB

WHO raises concern over countries’ slow response to end TB

- in Health, News

Countries are still not doing enough to end TB by 2030, the World Health Organisation has warned.

This comes as political leaders gather in New York for the first-ever United Nations High-level meeting on TB.

In the latest 2018 Global TB report released on Tuesday, WHO says that 1.6 million deaths were recorded in 2017, out of which 300,000 were HIV-positive people.

Globally, an estimated 10 million people developed TB in 2017; 5.8 million men, 3.2 million women and one million children.

“Although global efforts have averted an estimated 54 million TB deaths since 2000, TB remains the world’s deadliest infectious disease. There were cases in all countries and age groups, but overall 90 per cent were adults aged above15 years, nine per cent  were people living with HIV (72 per cent in Africa),” the report says.

The report says that countries need to urgently accelerate their response including by increasing domestic and international funding to fight the disease. It calls for calls an unprecedented mobilization of national and international commitments

“We have never seen such high-level political attention and understanding of what the world needs to do to end TB and drug-resistant TB. We must capitalise on this new momentum and act together to end this terrible disease,” WHO Director – General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

Drug-resistant TB remains a global public health crisis. In 2017, 558,000 people were estimated to have developed disease resistant to at least rifampicin– the most effective first-line TB drug.

The vast majority of these people had multi drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), that is, combined resistance to rifampicin and isoniazid (another key first-line TB medicine).

WHO estimates that a quarter of the world’s population has TB infection and strongly recommends preventive treatment for people living with HIV, and children under five years living in households with TB.

“We need to join forces to root out this disease that has a devastating social and economic impact on those who are ‘left behind’, whose human rights and dignity are limited, and who struggle to access care. The time for action is now,” WHO Global TB Programme director Dr Tereza Kasaeva said.

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