WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

WHO: Progress made on TB treatment, but challenges remain

Tuberculosis treatment has saved more than 22 million lives, but millions of people remain at risk due to TB's increasing resilience to drugs, according to a report released by the WHO on Wednesday.

The number of deaths due to TB fell to 1.3 million last year, and the WHO is on target to meet its long-term goal to reduce TB incidences by 50 percent from 1990 to 2015.

"Quality TB care for millions worldwide has driven down TB deaths," WHO Director of the Global TB Programme Dr. Mario Raviglione said. "But far too many people are still missing out on such care and are suffering as a result. They are not diagnosed, or not treated, or information on the quality of care they receive is unknown."

Multi-drug resistant TB has provided an additional challenge to health professionals. Approximately 450,000 cases of MDR-TB were reported last year, and there are inadequate resources to diagnose and treat all those who are impacted by it.

"The unmet demand for a full-scale and quality response to MDR-TB is a real public health crisis," Raviglione said. "It is unacceptable that increased access to diagnosis is not being matched by increased access to MDR-TB care."