TB WHO says fight against disease is paying off globally

More than half of the world’s TB cases, it added, occurred in China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan.

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The World Health Organisation (WHO)has said that the fight against tuberculosis (TB) is paying off, with this year’s death rate nearly half of what it was in 1990.

This is according to WHO’s Global Tuberculosis Report 2015, which was released on Wednesday in Washington D.C.

The organisation said 1.5 million people died from the disease last year, with more than half occurring in China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan.

“Most of these deaths could have been prevented,” according to the report.

The report said to reduce TB’s overall burden, detection and treatment gaps needed to be closed, funding shortfalls filled and new diagnostics, drugs and vaccines developed.

On the positive side, it added that effective diagnosis and treatment saved 43 million lives between 2000 and 2015.

It quoted WHO Director-General. Dr Margaret Chan as saying:"the report shows that TB control has had a tremendous impact in terms of lives saved and patients cured.

"These advances are heartening, but if the world is to end this epidemic, it needs to scale up services and, critically, invest in research.”

It also quoted Dr. Mario Raviglione, Director of WHO’s Global TB Programme, as saying:"Inspite of the gains, the progress made against TB is far from sufficient, with 4,400 people dying from the disease every day,.

"This is unacceptable in an era where you can diagnose and cure nearly every person with TB.”

In 2014, TB killed 890 000 men, 480 000 women and 140 000 children, according to the report.

It added that the disease ranks alongside HIV as a leading killer worldwide.

“This year’s report describes higher global totals for new TB cases (9.6. million) than in previous years, reflecting increased and improved national data and in-depth studies rather than any increase in the spread of the disease.''

More than half of the world’s TB cases, it added, occurred in China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan.

It showed that among new cases, an estimated 3.3 per cent have multidrug-resistant TB, a level that has remained unchanged in recent years.

The report added that detection and treatment gaps are especially serious among people with multidrug-resistant TB MDR-TB, which remains a public health crisis.

It further added that the three countries with the largest numbers of cases are China, India and the Russian Federation.

The report also showed that the number of people living with HIV who were given TB preventive therapy was nearly one million in 2014, an increase of about 60 per cent when compared with 2013.

It also showed that more than half of these people were in South Africa.

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