WHO Calls for Increased TB Funding

"We face an uphill battle to reach the global targets for tuberculosis," said Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO's outgoing director general. "There must be a massive scale-up of efforts or countries will continue to run behind this deadly epidemic and these ambitious goals will be missed."

The World Health Organization published new data in its 2016 "Global Tuberculosis Report" indicating countries need to move faster to prevent, detect, and treat TB if they are to meet global targets. Governments agreed on targets to end the TB epidemic both at the World Health Assembly and at the United Nations General Assembly within the context of the Sustainable Development Goals, and they included a 90 percent reduction in TB deaths and an 80 percent reduction in TB cases by 2030 compared with 2015 as goals.

"We face an uphill battle to reach the global targets for tuberculosis," said Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO's outgoing director general. "There must be a massive scale-up of efforts or countries will continue to run behind this deadly epidemic and these ambitious goals will be missed."

The report highlights inequalities among countries in enabling people with TB to access cost-effective diagnosis and treatment, and it calls for political commitment and more funding.

During 2015, there were an estimated 10.4 million new TB cases worldwide, with siix countries accounting for 60 percent of the total burden -- India bearing the brunt, followed by Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan, and South Africa. According to WHO, an estimated 1.8 million people died from TB in 2015. Although global TB deaths fell by 22 percent between 2000 and 2015, the disease was one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide in 2015.

"The resources deployed against TB, the leading infectious killer in the world, are falling short," said Dr. Ariel Pablos-Méndez, assistant administrator for Global Health at the U.S. Agency for International Development. "Everyone has a part to play in closing the gap. As the report shows, we need universal health coverage, social protection mechanisms, and public health financing in high burden countries. The development aid community needs to step up more investments now, or we will simply not end one of the world's oldest and deadliest diseases."

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