Tuberculosis treatment has saved the lives of more than 22 million people since 1995, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Tuberculosis Report 2013 published on 23rd October 2013.
But although TB incidence is falling at a rate of 2 per cent per year and global deaths are down from 1.4 million in 2011 to 1.3 million last year, further gains are at risk unless two challenges are addressed, the report warned.
Three million people – a third of all new TB cases – fail to be diagnosed or treated and miss out on quality TB care, WHO estimates. And second, multi-drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) must be acknowledged as a public health crisis, the report stressed.
There is a huge gap between the number of people who fall ill with MDR-TB and those who are diagnosed and offered treatment, it noted.
“We are sitting and watching a ticking bomb,” said Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Secretary of the STOP TB Partnership, which includes TB Alert as among its partners. Unless global TB care and treatment is urgently stepped up, TB will not be eliminated as a public health threat until 2170, she said. She also advocated increased funding for TB research and development, especially on new diagnostic tests, drugs and vaccines.
For more details, please go to the WHO website