Poverty driving TB pandemic in Africa

According to a report given by the STOP TB department of the World Health Organization, the high poverty levels in Africa are driving the re-emerging tuberculosis pandemic.

The report, given at the 41st Union World Lung Conference in Berlin, Germany, also revealed that 80 percent of the world’s HIV positive TB cases are found in sub-Saharan Africa, Healthdev.net reports.

“TB in Africa is precipitated by poverty and social conditions that elevate the risk of infection,” Mario Raviglione, director of the STOP TB department of the WHO, told a press conference, according to Healthdev.net.

TB is thought of as more likely to spread in these low-income regions as a result of overcrowding, malnutrition, lack of proper housing ventilation, indoor air pollution and long distances to health centers.

A recent study by Professor Anthony Harries, a senior advisor to the Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, showed that many patients in Malawi who tested positive for pulmonary TB had related low-income social conditions, Healthdev.net reports. Thirty-six percent of the patients lived in mud hut houses, 75 percent had no access to piped water, 45 percent had a monthly income of less than $10 and 92 percent had no electricity in their homes.

Another factor in the spread of the pandemic is that many patients visit traditional healers before attempting mainstream medical treatment. This causes the condition to worsen and makes the medical treatment less effective, Healthdev.net reports.