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Covid set to cause 400,000 surge in TB deaths as medics diverted - WHO: Global TB progress at risk

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  • Covid set to cause 400,000 surge in TB deaths as medics diverted - WHO: Global TB progress at risk

    Millions of missed diagnoses will add to global pandemic toll, warns WHO study

    Scientists have warned that several hundred thousand extra deaths from tuberculosis are likely to occur this year as a result of Covid-19’s effect on global health services.

    In many countries – including South Africa, India and Indonesia – doctors and health workers have been shifted from tracking TB cases to tracing people infected with Covid-19. Equipment and budgets have also been reassigned, an investigation by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed.

    As a result, millions of TB diagnoses have been missed, and according to the WHO this is likely to result in 200,000 to 400,000 excess deaths from the disease this year alone, with a further million new cases occurring every year after that for the next five years.

    “This is just one example of the very difficult choices that had to be taken to contain Covid-19,” said Thomas Kenyon, chief health officer of Project Hope, the humanitarian NGO. “It was obviously crucial that we tackle the pandemic but we cannot forget that we have other killers in our midst. We are going to have to be innovative in addressing them.”

    TB is the world’s leading cause of death from infectious disease, topping both HIV and malaria. It is contagious and is caused by a bacterium known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which commonly attacks the lungs but can affect any part of the body, from the bloodstream to the brain.

    Millions of missed diagnoses will add to global pandemic toll, warns WHO study
    “Addressing chronic disease is an issue of human rights – that must be our call to arms"
    Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief The Lancet

    ~~~~ Twitter:@GertvanderHoek ~~~ GertvanderHoek@gmail.com ~~~

  • #2
    WHO: Global TB progress at risk

    14 October 2020

    News release

    Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries were making steady progress in tackling tuberculosis (TB), with a 9% reduction in incidence seen between 2015 and 2019 and a 14% drop in deaths in the same period. High-level political commitments at global and national levels were delivering results. However, a new report from WHO shows that access to TB services remains a challenge, and that global targets for prevention and treatment will likely be missed without urgent action and investments.

    Approximately 1.4 million people died from TB-related illnesses in 2019. Of the estimated 10 million people who developed TB that year, some 3 million were not diagnosed with the disease, or were not officially reported to national authorities.

    The situation is even more acute for people with drug-resistant TB. About 465 000 people were newly diagnosed with drug-resistant TB in 2019 and, of these, less than 40% were able to access treatment. There has also been limited progress in scaling up access to treatment to prevent TB.

    “Equitable access to quality and timely diagnosis, prevention, treatment and care remains a challenge,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “Accelerated action is urgently needed worldwide if we are to meet our targets by 2022.”

    “Addressing chronic disease is an issue of human rights – that must be our call to arms"
    Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief The Lancet

    ~~~~ Twitter:@GertvanderHoek ~~~ GertvanderHoek@gmail.com ~~~

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