April 2, 2011
The World Health Organization (WHO) warned that over 2 million people will become infected with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) until 2015, exactly on the day that the World TB Day is celebrated on, March 24, recalling that, despite milestones achieved, further efforts are needed for all those affected by this disease so they can have access to treatment.
According to the director general of WHO, Dr. Margaret Chan, ""many countries have made progress"" in this field, but ""despite the recent growth efforts, the world needs to do much more for all MDR TB patients accessing the treatment they need.""
""We cannot allow drug-resistant tuberculosis to spread unchecked,"" she says. To live with untreated MDR-TB increases the risk of spreading TB strains resistant to drugs in the world.
Programs funded by the Global Foundation and subsequent WHO standard treatments are expected to diagnose and treat about 200,000 people of MDR-TB by 2015, a figure that is four times that of patients receiving treatment at present, only about 50,000 .
The Global Foundation will provide 84 percent of international funding for TB control in 2011. However, according to WHO, both international countries and organizations should increase their efforts against TB and progress in the fight against tuberculosis.
According to Professor Michel Kazatchkine, executive director of the Global Foundation, ""MDR-TB is a challenge for all countries because it is difficult and expensive to treat.""
""Unless there is not a special effort made to address this problem, our ability to finance and ensure progress against tuberculosis in general might be threatened,"" he warns.
For the special envoy for 'Stop TB' of the UN, Jorge Sampaio, ""it is time that countries with rapidly growing economies and a high burden of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis increase their commitment and funding for their programs against this disease.""
Since 2009, the 23 countries most affected by MDR-TB have almost doubled their burden of this disease. From 2002 to 2010, the Global Foundation has funded programs throughout the world that have provided treatment to about 7.7 million people, saving the lives of 4.1 million patients.
In 2009, WHO reported that 9.4 million people became infected with tuberculosis and 1.7 million died from this cause, among which 380,000 people with HIV-associated tuberculosis are included. In 2008 there were about 440,000 cases of MDR-TB and 150,000 deaths.
(Source: Latin Daily Financial News)