The report, which the WHO releases annually, features data on disease trends and the response to the tuberculosis (TB) epidemic across the world. In 2019, approximately 1.4 million people died from TB-related illnesses and some 3 million were not diagnosed with the disease, or were not officially reported to national authorities.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought a new set of challenges, as in many countries, human, financial and other resources have been reallocated from TB to the COVID-19 response. Data collection and reporting systems have also been negatively impacted.
While TB progress has been dismally slow, there are now several newer tests and drugs that could save hundreds of thousands of lives each year, the MSF statement reads. Governments should make sure there are rapid TB testing services in every health facility so that more people can be treated.
TB has remained a burden throughout the course of human history, and it’s about time that governments are more serious about tackling this killer disease, the humanitarian organisation declares.