Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend

Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites (# of views)   1 comment
OpEdNews Op Eds

Call to action to halt the looming TB-diabetes co-epidemic

      (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

Author 91838
Become a Fan
  (1 fan)
- Advertisement -
Babs Verblackt, Citizen News Service (CNS)

(CNS): It is time to act and no time to waste. That is the urgent message of the report "The Looming Co-epidemic of TB-Diabetes: A Call to Action" launched jointly by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) and the World Diabetes Foundation (WDF) at the opening day of the 45th Union World Conference on Lung Health in Barcelona. The report warns against the brewing storm of diabetes and tuberculosis (TB) that is no longer confined to the teacup.

- Advertisement -

People with diabetes have a three times greater risk of contracting TB than those without diabetes. People with TB have high rates of diabetes that often go undiagnosed.

Diabetes is on the rise globally, and is projected to increase from 382 million cases in 2013 to 592 million cases in 2035. Also the burden of the disease is moving from developed countries to developing and emerging-market countries. 6 of the top 10 countries projected to have the greatest number of people living with diabetes in the year 2035 are also classified as high TB burden countries by the World Health Organization (WHO). These countries include China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Pakistan and the Russian Federation.

The report lists recommendations for practical action on policy, programme implementation, financing and technical assistance, health service delivery, and advocacy level.

Interaction with an impact

- Advertisement -

"The burden of diabetes continues to grow while the decline in TB has been slowed down. The interaction between TB and diabetes may further impact the decline in TB. If action is not taken to address the double burden of TB and diabetes the gains in control and containment of TB may get undone," Dr Anil Kapur, member of the Board of Directors of the World Diabetes Foundation told Citizen News Service (CNS).

"In places where this issue has been studied - from India to China to East-Africa and the United States -- we are seeing significantly higher rates of diabetes among TB patients than what appears in the general population. If we do not act now to head this off, we are going to experience a co-epidemic of TB-diabetes that will impact millions and sap public health systems of precious resources. The key is to prevent this from happening," he said.

Action on the ground

This timely report on the looming co-epidemic synthesizes evidence from the medical and scientific literature, promotes an international policy framework for action, and lays out a new research agenda to fill knowledge gaps.

"This report brings attention to the threat posed by this double burden amongst the different stakeholders and calls for enhancing the implementation of the Collaborative Framework through real action on the ground and increasing resources to address the issue," Kapur said, referring to the The Collaborative Framework for Care and Control Of TB and Diabetes. This document, published by the WHO and The Union in 2011, provides evidence-based, practical guidance for policymakers and health programme implementers to address the growing epidemic of diabetes and TB.

Conventional approach challenged

Tuberculosis is an airborne, infectious disease caused by bacteria. Diabetes is a chronic illness that weakens the immune system, making people with diabetes more susceptible to developing TB. The report challenges the conventional approach to health policy making, which has historically addressed infectious diseases and noncommunicable or chronic diseases independently.

- Advertisement -

Dr Anthony Harries, Senior Advisor to The Union, calls the launch of the report 'very timely'. "The WHO has recognized the link between diabetes and TB and has incorporated management of diabetes into its post-2015 global strategy to decrease TB incidence by 90% by 2035," Harries told Citizen News Service. "This intersection between communicable diseases (TB) and noncommunicable diseases (diabetes) can also be used as a driver to strengthen health care systems with a focus on universal health coverage," he added.

Learning from TB-HIV

According to Harries the 'most interesting elements' of the report are the recommendations for practical action. Drawing upon the lessons learnt about the previous slow response to the HIV-TB epidemic 25 years ago, he explained that, "We saw something similar happen with TB and HIV/AIDS to what is happening now with TB and diabetes. For years we had medical evidence that the two diseases were working together as HIV destroyed people's immune systems, allowing TB to quadruple in many countries in Africa. And for years we had a policy framework for responding. But it took years to mobilize a robust response, and millions of people were impacted by TB-HIV co-infection before it became the norm to screen people living with HIV for TB and vice-versa. We want to raise an alarm that we do not watch history repeat itself with TB-diabetes."

Next Page  1  |  2


- Advertisement -

View Ratings | Rate It

Citizen News Service (CNS) specializes in in-depth and rights-based, health and science journalism. For more information, please contact: or @cns_health or

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting
/* The Petition Site */
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Related Topic(s): ; , Add Tags
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Management of respiratory diseases beyond drugs: Pulmonary Rehabilitation

New funding boosts research for controlling TB, malaria, dengue and leishmaniasis

Oxygen therapy is like a prescription drug: Use it rationally

Progress made but work remains on firewalling health policy from tobacco industry

World Health Day: No substitute to healthy mind

Nepal leading tobacco control in South Asia: Will it spiral domino effect on other nations?