The coronavirus pandemic has wiped out many years of progress in tackling tuberculosis, leading to the first increase in deaths caused by the disease in more than a decade, despite a decrease in the number of enrolled cases. , The World Health Organization warned in a report.
WHO Secretary Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the findings released by the Health Organization on Thursday were “warning.” “It should serve as a global awakening call for the urgent need for investment and innovation,” he added. .. .. In diagnosis, treatment and care for millions of sick people. “
Tuberculosis is caused by the bacteria that most often affect the lungs. It may spread with a cough. However, it is both prophylactic and curable, and about 85% of people who develop the disease are successfully treated with 6 months of medication, reducing the likelihood of subsequent infections.
However, WHO said more people will die of tuberculosis in 2020 and “much fewer” will be offered diagnosis and treatment or preventative treatment. In many countries, resources deployed for tuberculosis have been reassigned to Covid-19. According to WHO, patients also struggled to seek care during the blockade. It is estimated that about 1.5 million people will die of tuberculosis in 2020, up from the estimated 1.4 million in the previous year.
Meanwhile, the number of new tuberculosis diagnoses has dropped from 7.1 million in 2019 to 5.8 million in 2020. The increase in deaths from treatable illnesses occurred primarily in the 30 countries with the highest burden of tuberculosis, which WHO estimated. The death toll in 2021 and 2022 can be “much higher.”
“This report supports our fear that a pandemic disruption of essential medical services could begin to unravel long-standing advances in tuberculosis,” said Tedros.
Tuberculosis is not the only disease whose management has been affected by a pandemic. Health officials and pharmaceutical company executives warn that patients with cancer and other conditions are underdiagnosed and the full impact of this phenomenon is unlikely to become apparent over the years to come. increase.
According to the WHO, about 4.1 million people worldwide suffer from tuberculosis, but it has not been diagnosed or the case has not been formally reported to health authorities. This is an increase from 2.9 million in 2019. In 2020, about 2.8 million people received preventive treatment. This is a decrease of about one-fifth from 2019. Only one in three people have been treated for drug-resistant disorders.
According to the WHO, global funding to tackle tuberculosis has declined, less than half of the world’s annual target of $ 13 billion by 2022. Goals to tackle the disease worldwide, including reducing fatalities by 90% by 2030 compared to the 2015 baseline, are “out of track” and “more and more out of reach” Warned.
Advances in TB treatments, vaccines and testing are constrained by the relatively low level of underlying R & D investment. That’s about $ 900 million in 2019, “well below” the global target of $ 2 billion a year.
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