The World Health Organization, WHO, has warned of a dramatic increase in tuberculosis deaths in the coming years, as a result of the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic and a continuing shortage of funds in its annual report on global efforts to combat the disease.
WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted that although the incidence of the disease dropped nine percent between 2015 and 2019 and fatalities decreased by 14 percent during the same period, more than 1.4 million people still died from tuberculosis in 2019 adding that accelerated action is urgently needed worldwide.
The WHO said there were reductions in the reporting and monitoring of new TB cases in the first half of 2020, as countries imposed lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19.
India, Indonesia and the Philippines reported a drop of between 25 and 30 percent in case notifications over the six months and the three countries are also among the countries with the highest incidences of coronavirus in the world.
According to WHO data, Tuberculosis is preventable and curable and, about 85 percent of those who develop the disease can be successfully treated with a six-month drug regimen. The treatment also curtails onward transmission of the infection.