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Speed is not enough, accelerating progress is key to end TB: new WHO report

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Bobby Ramakant, CNS

WHO Global TB Report launched
WHO Global TB Report launched
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Global fight against tuberculosis (TB) is making modest gains, although largely not yet on track to end TB. 2019 Global TB Report of the World Health Organization (WHO) launched on 17 October 2019 gives hope, not despair, because sustained efforts have yielded some significant results. Only European region is on track to meet 2020 targets of 20% reduction in new TB cases, and 35% reduction in TB deaths (compared to 2015). 7 high TB burden countries are also on track to meet these 2020 targets: Kenya, Lesotho, Myanmar, Russia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Rest of the world is lagging behind.

10 million people fell ill with TB as per estimates in 2018 (same as in 2017). TB rates in children though went up by 100,000 in 2018, with 1.1 million TB cases estimated in children in 2018 (compared to 1 million in 2017). The data was reported by 202 countries and territories that account for more than 99% of the world's population and estimated TB cases.

UNHLM sub-target of treating 7 million in 2018 met

At the UN High Level Meeting (UNHLM) on TB in 2018, one of the commitments was to treat 40 million people with TB during 2018-2022: 7 million in 2018 and 8 million new cases every year till 2022. 7 million new people were notified with TB in 2018 and received lifesaving therapy (in 2017, 6.4 million new TB cases were notified). India's notification rate went up from 1.2 million (2013) to 2 million (2018) an increase of over 60%.

Out of 10 million estimated new TB cases, 7 million were notified in 2018. India shares a major part (25%) of the gap of 3 million.

100,000 less TB deaths in 2018

Compared to 2017, there were 100,000 fewer deaths due to TB in 2018. 1.5 million people died of TB in 2018, out of which 251,000 were among TB coinfected people living with HIV. In 2017 there were 1.6 million TB deaths out of which 300,000 were among TB coinfected people living with HIV.

Compared to TB deaths among HIV negative people in 2000 (1.7 million), there is a 27% decline in 2018 (1.2 million). TB deaths among coinfected people living with HIV came down by 60% in 2018 (251,000) compared to 2000 (620,000).

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