Nothing less than seven million people have received a good record of lifesaving tuberculosis treatment but three million people still unreached, the World Health Organization has reported. This report was made via their website on October 18, 2019.
The reports states that a higher number of people did receive life-saving tuberculosis treatment in the year 2018 than previous years. This increase in number is as a result of improvement in detection and the diagnosis of the illness. All around the world, 7 million patients in 2018 were treated for tuberculosis in 2018. This record beats that of 2017, in which less than 6.5 million were treated.
2018 saw a significant decrease in number of people who died of TB, the latest WHO’s global tuberculosis reports. In 2018, one and a half million persons died from tuberculosis, a lower number compared to 2017 where 1.6 million people died. There has also been a steady decline in the newly found TB cases in the recent years. There however still is a huge problem of TB among populations with low-income, about ten million cases of TB were reported in 2018.
The Director General of WHO, Dr Tedros stated a milestone has been passed in the strife to extend help to people who have been unreached with services of prevention and treatment of TB.
Dr Tedros further mentioned that the achievement is evidence that global targets can be reached if forces are joined together like it was done through recent partnership of WHO, TheGlobalFund and StopTB Partnership to achieve the mutual initiative of “Find.Treat All.End TB”.
The latest Global Tuberculosis Report, released on October 18, points out that efforts by the world needs to be increased for the SDG of ending tuberculosis by 2030 to be reached. It also highlights that an estimate of 3 million people with TB are yet to be reached with the necessary care.
The Place Of Universal Health Coverage
The poor health facilities and shortage of workforce present in several countries today makes it hard for timely TB diagnosis and right treatments. There are also possibilities of treatments being made by health providers but not being reported to the national authorities and this is another problem which causes an unclear knowledge of the epidemics and what is needed.
The WHO Director general added that better health facilities and access will be required to sustain progress on tuberculosis and that will mean more investments has to be put into primary health services and more commitment given to universal coverage.
In September 2019 at the UN in NY, presidents made an agreement on Universal Coverage and highlighted the significance of expanding coverage and making commitments to increase efforts against infectious diseases like TB, HIV, and malaria.
Another problem that needs to be tackled is the resistance of drugs which was remains a barrier to ending tuberculosis in 2018. An estimate of five hundred thousand people who resisted drugs was done and only one-third got enrolled for treatment.
New guidance by WHO has the goal to improve the treatment of TB with multi-drug resistance by adjusting fully to oral medical treatments that are more effective and safer. The new guidance is a part of the larger number of steps given out on World Tuberculosis Day 2019 (March 24) to help nations increase their efforts to put an end to the disease.
Problem Of Funding
The efforts against TB is still not properly funded. An estimate of 3.3 billion US dollars was the deficit for funds gotten for TB care and prevention in 2019. International funding, a process which is important for marginalized countries amounted to 0.9 billion US dollars in 2019, seventy three percent gotten from TheGlobalFund.
There is need for urgent funding of tuberculosis research & development which has a yearly shortfall of 1.2 billion US dollars. Urgent attention is needed to introduce new vaccines, rapid care points diagnostic tests and simpler, safer and shorter treatments for TB..
Global Tuberculosis targets:
- Sustainable Development Goal 3.3 also includes an objective of ending TB by 2030
United Nations TB Political Declaration in 2018 consists of four fresh global targets:
- 40 Million persons to be treated for TB between 2018 – 2022 (Seven million achieved already in 2018)
- Thirty million people reached with TB prevention treatments between 2018 – 2022
- Mobilizing at least 13 billion US dollars yearly for global access to tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment by 2022.
- The deadlines for nations to report their progress to the United Nations General Assembly is September 2020.
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