TB Day: 36% Of Deaths Occur In Africa, Says WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has disclosed that 36% of deaths resulting from Tuberculosis (TB) comes from Africa.

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti made the disclosure in her message commemorating this year’s World TB Day.

TheFact Nigeria gathered that many TB patients suffer in silence and eventually die for fear of stigmatisation. This, therefore calls for increased awareness campaign.

Dr. Moeti explained that, World TB Day is observed on 24 March each year to raise public awareness and understanding about the deadly infectious disease, as well as its devastating health, social and economic impacts.

She said, this year’s theme, “Invest to end TB. Save lives”, emphasized the urgent need to invest the resources necessary to ramp up the fight against TB, and realize the commitments to end TB made by global leaders.

Lamenting the slow pace of funding to end the disease, the WHO Boss said:
“At the UN High-Level Meeting on TB in 2018, world leaders agreed to mobilize US$13 billion per year to finance TB prevention and treatment by 2022 and promised another US$2 billion per year for TB research in the face of growing concerns around drug-resistant TB.

“However, funding for TB prevention, diagnosis and treatment services continues to fall far short of estimated global needs, and the United Nations global target.

“In 2020, global spending on TB services fell to US$5.3 billion, and funding for research was US$901 million”, she said.

Moeti also lamented that, while national strategic plans and accompanying budgets for tuberculosis had grown in ambition, mobilization of funding had not kept pace.

Futhermore, she noted that, increased funding from domestic sources and international donors was urgently needed if they were to counteract a reversal of the significant gains made against TB in the past decades.

“At the current rate of progress, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target of ending the TB epidemic by 2030 will not be achievable.

“With 36% of all TB deaths occurring in Africa, failure to invest in the TB response is set to take a formidable toll on African countries. Increased investment can be a game-changer, and alleviate the preventable suffering and death of millions of our people”, Moeti said.

She therefore called on governments to mobilize additional domestic financial support for TB control and urged stakeholders to advocate for increased investment, and to ensure that TB services are integrated into the primary health care response.

Concluding her message, she appealed to donors, the private sector, civil society and academia to pay increased attention to urgently boosting investment in the fight against TB and in TB research, in order to accelerate technological breakthroughs and uptake of innovations towards ending TB by 2030.

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