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Reduction of TB prevalence achievable: WHO

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THE World Health Organisation (WHO) last week disclosed that the world was on track to meet the target of reducing global tuberculosis (TB) prevalence by 50% in the next three years.
By Our  Staff Reporter

WHO Stop TB director Mario Raviglione said without the TB treatment, 20 million people would have died.

“In the space of 17 years, 51 million people have been successfully treated and cared for. Globally, 40% of TB patients had a documented HIV test result and 79% of HIV-positive people received co-trimoxazole, an antibiotic preventive therapy in 2011,” she said. “Without that treatment, 20 million people would have died.”

The WHO report however noted the emergence of several new bottlenecks affecting TB treatment.

“In 2011, there were an estimated 8,7 million new TB cases and 1,4 million deaths, 430 000 of which were among people co-infected with HIV. In addition, a $1,4 billion funding gap for research and a shortfall of $3 billion per year for TB control and care between 2013 and 2015, could have severe consequences for TB control.”

The report stated that Africa and Asia continued to bear the highest burden of the disease, with India and China accounting for nearly 40% of the world’s TB cases.

Close to 80% of TB cases among people living with HIV are in Africa.

“Of particular concern is the slow progress of the response to multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB). A total of 3,7% new cases and 20% of previously treated cases were estimated to have MDR-TB,” said the report.

WHO last year said Zimbabwe was ranked 17th out of 22 high-burden TB countries in the world.

“WHO is therefore calling for targeted international donor funding and continued investments by countries themselves to safeguard recent gains and ensure continued progress.”

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