Significant Increase in Finding & Treating People with TB

WHO’s Global TB Report shows people missed by health systems decreased by 25% in just 3 years

indian woman

More people received life-saving treatment for tuberculosis (TB) in 2018 than ever before, reported the World Health Organization (WHO).

This is a very positive change since tuberculosis is curable and preventable, with improved detection and diagnosis. 

Furthermore, the WHO’s latest Global TB Report, which was published on October 18, 2019, says there was also a 6.25 percent reduction in the number of TB deaths in 2018.

Globally, 7 million people were diagnosed and treated for TB - up from 6.4 million in 2017. This enabled the world to meet one of the milestones towards the United Nations targets on TB.

The WHO Strategy established milestones for 2020 of a 35 percent reduction in TB deaths and a 20 percent reduction in the TB incidence rate from 2015 levels.

“Today we mark the passing of the 1st milestone in the effort to reach people who’ve been missing out on services to prevent and treat TB,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, in a related press release.

“This is proof that we can reach global targets if we join forces together, as we have done through the ‘Find.Treat.All.EndTB’ joint initiative.”

Dr. Tedros added: “Sustained progress on TB will require strong health systems and better access to services. That means a renewed investment in primary health care and a commitment to universal health coverage.”

“It’s great to see that concentrated efforts to find people with TB are yielding results,” said Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund. 

“We still have a long way to go on TB, but with strong political commitment and smart interventions, we can close the gap.”

Recently, donors at the Global Fund's Sixth Replenishment Conference pledged US $14.02 billion for the next 3 years – the largest amount ever raised for a multilateral health organization.

Moreover, the United States Congress signaled its ongoing support with $1.56 billion a year, (2020-2022) maintaining a 33 percent portion of all TB contributions.

This renewed financial commitment to replenish the Global Fund will mean that over 110 affected countries will receive critical financial support enabling them to scale up infectious disease responses, to fight back against drug resistance, and other threats.

Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that most often affect the lungs, says the WHO.

About one-quarter of the world's population has latent TB, which means people have been infected by TB bacteria but are not (yet) ill with the disease and cannot transmit it.

The highest burden of TB in 2018 is in 8 countries: Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and South Africa.

Brazil, China, the Russian Federation, and Zimbabwe, which all have high TB burdens, achieved treatment coverage levels of more than 80 percent, reported the WHO.

Tuberculosis information published by Vax-Before-Travel.