National
WHO urges nations to step up the fight against TB
Publish Date: Jul 07, 2014
WHO urges nations to step up the fight against TB
  • mail
  • img
newvision

GENEVA - The World Health Organization has urged over 30 countries, including some of the world's richest, to recognise the continued danger of tuberculosis and try to wipe it out by 2050.

Although TB is preventable and curable, a total of 155,000 people still fall ill with the disease every year in the 33 developed nations listed and 10,000 die, the WHO said.

The number of recorded new cases per year in the countries concerned -- ranging from Australia to France and Germany, and New Zealand to the United States -- is around 100 per million inhabitants.

Millions are also unknowingly infected with the TB bacillus, which can be spread by sneezing, and therefore risk falling ill at some point, the WHO underlined.

"If you talk to the general public of these countries, (they think) it is a disease of the past, that they don't have it anymore," said Marco Raviglione, head of the WHO's anti-TB programme.

All told, TB claimed 1.3 million lives worldwide last year, making it the deadliest disease after AIDS to be caused by a single infectious agent, according to WHO.

The 33 countries have been singled out precisely because they have relatively low levels of tuberculosis, notably compared with hotspots such as China, India and the former communist countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

"We are at an historical point now in control of tuberculosis worldwide and there are number of countries, we count 33, that are really at the low level of incidence that allows them to truly target elimination," Raviglione told reporters.

"We want them as trailblazers, they are the ones that really have to show the world that we can do it," he said.

Bold decisions' needed

The WHO is putting a series of anti-TB measures on the table at an international conference in Rome.

They include tackling infections among the most vulnerable groups, including the poor or homeless, migrants, and ethnic minorities.

People who use drugs or are in prison, and those with compromised immune systems -- including people living with HIV, malnutrition, diabetes, smokers and heavy drinkers -- all have a much greater risk of falling ill with TB.

Many of these vulnerable groups face barriers in accessing health services, the WHO said.

Raviglione said that "bold decisions" by governments could by 2035 pull TB rates down from the current 100 new cases per million per year to 10 per million.

"Therefore by 2050 we could really see the elimination of tuberculosis, which means less than one case per million people per year," he said.

The WHO also wants countries to ensure funding for high-quality TB services, improve screening for the disease, and boost the fight against drug-resistant forms of the infectious disease, which are seen as a huge emerging threat.

"Powerful antibiotics and better living standards have almost pushed the disease out of many high-income countries," said Professor Giovanni Battista Migliori of the European Respiratory Society.

"But we still have not succeeded. And if we do the wrong things now, TB could rebound, including with more drug-resistant forms," he warned, adding that "if we get it right, and recommit to fighting the disease, both at home and abroad, TB will eventually no longer be a public health threat."

RELATED ARTICLES

Why is TB on the increase?

TB, a neglected disease in Uganda

Uganda gets world class TB lab

TB: Will Uganda meet the 2015 target?

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Judges should retire with 100% benefits - Museveni
President Yoweri Museveni has said there is no serious dialogue between the three arms of government; the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, to talk about strategy and ideology of the country....
Court sets date to rule on Kamoga’s bail
The Constitutional Court has set a date on which it will deliver its ruling on whether it will temporarily release Tabliq leader Amir Ummah Muhammad Yunus Kamoga and eight others...
Former New Vision journalist dies in US
Joyce Nyakato, a former features writer at New Vision dies at the Georgetown University Hospital in Washington DC....
UPDF loses 10 soldiers in Somalia attack
The army has released names of the 10 soldiers who were killed in Somalia attack on Tuesday....
DStv Eutelsat Star awards competition opens
Students between the ages of 14 and 19 years have yet another opportunity to participate in the International DStv Eutelsat satellite technology competition....
Mbale road works to be complete by November
Construction works of four Mbale municipality roads will be completed by November this year, Plinth Technical Works project manager Eng. Richardson Babiha has said...
Are poor parliamentary debates a result of removal of school debates?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter