WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

WHO reports millions of TB/MDR-TB patients missed by health care system

The World Health Organization released its Global Tuberculosis Report 2013 recently, which said that although advancements in the fight against tuberculosis have been made, there is still more work to be done.

The annual number of deaths due to TB has fallen to 1.3 million in 2012. The world is on track to meet the 2015 Millennium Development Goals, which seek to reduce the TB incidence and mortality rate by 50 percent by 2015.

The report said that although a "quantum leap" in TB control has been made, the world still faces two challenges: global access to TB treatment and effective multidrug-resistant TB treatment.

The report estimates that roughly three million people are currently infected with TB without access to quality medical care; it is believed 75 percent of this population is concentrated in 12 countries. The WHO also reports that treatment for those with MDR-TB infections must be improved, as the disease continues to gain strength.

"The WHO Global TB report highlights the very big gains the global community has made in the fight against tuberculosis," Osamu Kunii, head of the Strategy, Investment and Impact Division of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, said. "We are now at a crucial moment where we cannot afford to let these gains go into reverse. We need the commitment of the international community to address the significant funding gap to fight this disease."