Tuberculosis is top infectious killer despite significant progress

This past Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) released its Global tuberculosis (TB) report for 2017. The report documents a roller-coaster of successes and failures in the effort to combat TB. While 53 million lives have been saved since 2000, the disease remains the world’s leading infectious killer. Director-General, Dr. Tedros calls for a different approach, one that parallels action with awareness. “While the world has committed to ending the TB epidemic by 2030, actions and investments don’t match the political rhetoric. We need a dynamic, global, multisectoral approach.”

The report acknowledges major gaps in care and financing especially in countries where TB burden is high. Dr. Mario Raviglione, Director of the WHO Global TB Programme sites universal health coverage, social protection, and R&D as critical to enabling patients to access quality TB care.  Countries with large, unregulated private sectors are particularly prone to underreporting and underdiagnosis.

In an attempt to involve and unite all sectors in the fight against TB, the WHO will hold a conference on Ending TB in the Sustainable Development Era in Moscow in mid-November followed by a high-level meeting on TB at next year’s UN General Assembly.

photo credit: UN & WHO

Alyssa GovindanTuberculosis is top infectious killer despite significant progress