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'Global Tuberculosis Target Progress To Be Affected Due To Poor Funding & COVID-19': WHO

WHO states that despite the steady progress in tackling TB in recent years, the global targets for its prevention and treatment are likely to be missed

WHO

Despite steady progress in tackling tuberculosis in recent years, global targets for prevention and treatment of the disease will likely be missed largely, the latest report by the World Health Organization (WHO) stated. The report revealed that the targets would be missed due to insufficient funds and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. WHO's End TB Strategy aims to reduce TB deaths by 90 per cent and TB incidence rate by 80 per cent by 2030. 

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WHO: 'Tuberculosis targets affected by funding & pandemic'

As per the WHO's Global Tuberculosis Report 2020, a 9 per cent reduction in TB incidence and a 14 per cent drop in deaths was recorded between the years 2015 and 2019. So far only 14 million people have been treated for TB in the period 2018-2019, which is just one-third of its five-year plan to treat over 40 million people between 2018 to 2022. In the year 2020, over 20 per cent reduction in TB incidence and a 35 per cent drop in TB deaths has been recorded. 

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The report suggests that funding is the major reason for the TB target being missed. It added that in 2020, funding for TB prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care reached only 6.5 billion U.S. dollars, which represents only half of the 13 billion target set by the world leaders in the UN political declaration on TB. Apart from this, COVID-19 has also led to many difficulties because the resources which were used in TB services have been reallocated for the COVID-19 response. The report said that the data collected from 200 different countries between January and June 2020 have shown considerable reduction in TB case notifications, with 25 to 30 per cent drops in the countries namely, India, Indonesia and the Philippines. 

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WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, "Equitable access to quality and timely diagnosis, prevention, treatment and care remains a challenge. Accelerated action is urgently needed worldwide if we are to meet our targets by 2022." 

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According to WHO, this reduction in case notifications could result in a dramatic increase in TB deaths. The statistics further reveal that almost 85 per cent of the TB funding in 2020 was received from domestic sources with Brazil, the Russian Federation. India, China and South Africa contributing 57 per cent of the total funding. WHO said that if global TB targets are to be met, some urgent actions should be taken and more investments should be made. 

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(With ANI inputs)

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