Tuberculosis (TB) kills more people each year than any other infectious disease. It severely strains health systems and local, regional, and national economies. And, like many health crises, the disease disproportionately affects vulnerable populations. Many families incur catastrophic costs, aggravating poverty in communities.
This World TB Day, we reflect on the progress we've made and the challenges we still face in the fight to end TB. The key moving forward is to work together to ensure we don't leave anyone behind.
VIDEO: Working to End TB in Uganda
“We have the medicines that actually cure tuberculosis,” said Raymond Byaruhanga, project director for the USAID-funded, MSH-led TRACK TB project in Uganda. “So the question is why? Why [do we still see] TB today, and why isn’t it being treated?”
In 2015, TB caused 1.8 million deaths around the world, and another 10 million people fell ill from the disease, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Women and children are particularly vulnerable. TB causes between 6 and 15 percent of all maternal deaths, and childhood TB is too often not detected, diagnosed, or treated.
Atsede Tefera recalls three months of long delays in the diagnosis of tuberculosis for her daughter Nigist, who was eventually able to initiate treatment.Photo credit: MSH Ethiopia
When my daughter got sick, I took her to a clinic in my neighborhood. They gave her cough syrup for seven days.
I thought she was getting better, but it was apparent that she was still ill. After another examination, they referred her to St. Paul Hospital in Addis Ababa where they put her on oxygen and started taking blood sample after sample and injection after injection for a month. Her condition did not get better so they gave her another medicine. The doctors then decided to take blood from her back… only then did they know it was tuberculosis.
~ Atsede Tefera
Tuberculosis (TB) kills more people each year than any other infectious disease, causing over 1.5 million deaths globally. More than a quarter of cases are in Africa, the region with the highest burden of TB disease relative to population. Children are amongst the most vulnerable, and all too often children with TB remain in the shadows, undiagnosed, uncounted, and untreated. Today, more than 53 million children worldwide are infected with TB and over 400 die each day from this preventable and curable disease.
Voice of America Interviews Dr. Stephen Macharia: On Tuberculosis in South Sudan (Audio).
On the eve of World Tuberculosis Day, Voice of America interviewed Dr. Stephen Macharia, the TB CARE I country director for South Sudan.
During the interview (transcript, PDF), Dr. Macharia discussed the TB epidemic in South Sudan, TB CARE I project achievements, and the way forward for improving funding for TB services and multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) control in fragile states, like South Sudan.
Voice of America, the official external broadcast institution of the United States federal government, produces nearly 1,500 hours of news and programs each week for an estimated global audience of 123 million people.