An ambitious initiative by the Stop TB Partnership and the Global Fund to find and treat an additional 1.5 million “missing” cases of tuberculosis (TB) by the end of 2019 has thus far made “significant progress,” a new Global Fund report has revealed.
In the past year alone, the six nations with the largest number of TB cases discovered an additional 450,000 infected people who were previously missed by health systems. Should the current trend continue, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, and the Philippines will find and treat a further half a million people in the next 12 months.
"These results show what can be achieved if we put additional resources into the fight against TB,” Global Fund Executive Director Peter Sands said in a statement. “Countries in Asia have made TB a priority. If we are going to win the battle against TB, we need to win the battle in Asia."
Arguably the most considerable difficulty in the fight against the transmission of TB is the enormity of “missing” cases. Each year, 3.6 million people with active TB infections go undiagnosed, unrecorded, and unmedicated.
To achieve #SDG3, we have to win the fight against #TB. Discover how 6 Asian countries, with support @GlobalFund, @WHO, & @StopTB, have made significant strides to find & treat missing TB patients: https://t.co/50gLORifA0— UN Foundation (@unfoundation) February 8, 2019
In an attempt to curb the problem, the Global Fund provided $125 million in 2017 to aid the 13 nations which home 75% of global TB cases.
The TB Catalytic Investment initiative saw "innovative and targeted programs that promote better use of data and evidence” introduced to Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania, Ukraine, Kenya, Mozambique, and India.
Despite being preventable and curable, 10 million people received a TB diagnosis in 2017. Of those diagnosed, 1.6 million died. A person with untreated TB can spread it to as many as 15 others while a person who receives inadequate medicine can develop a drug resistance, in turn, making treatment longer and more costly.
"There are a lot of intractable problems in the world, but TB should not be one of them — we can treat and cure it,” Global Tuberculosis Caucus Co-Chair Nick Herbert announced. “Governments around the world want to boost economic growth, and investments in TB care and prevention will not only dramatically improve the health of their populations but also yield a major economic dividend.”