Africa records 26% reduction in Tuberculosis deaths in 6 years – WHO

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The World Health Organisation revealed that the African region has achieved 26 percent reduction in Tuberculosis deaths.

In her message to mark the World Tuberculosis day, Regional Director of WHO in Africa, Matshdiso Moeti said the region is now on the threshold of reaching a 35 percent of TB death reduction.

Noting the 26 percent reduction happened between 2015 and 2021, she noted that seven countries— Eswatini, Kenya, Mozambique, South Soudan, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia have reached a 35 percent reduction in deaths since 2015.

However, across the region, the challenges in TB prevention and control are significant:

“First, the delayed diagnosis and testing. There is still a notable gap between the estimated number of new infections and case notifications of TB: 40 per cent of people living with TB did not know of their diagnosis or it was not reported in 2021.

“One million people are living with TB in the region and have not been detected.

“Second, the link between TB and HIV. Approximately 20 per cent of people newly diagnosed with TB are also living with HIV infection.

“Third, the multi-drug resistant TB. In the African region, only 26 per cent of all people living with multi-drug resistance are receiving the appropriate treatment,” WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshdiso Moeti said.

Moeti commended the Member States that are increasing the uptake of new tools and guidance recommended by WHO, resulting in early access to TB prevention and care, and better outcomes.

She further noted that in the African Region, the use of rapid diagnostic testing has increased from 34 per cent in 2020 to 43 per cent in 2021, which will improve countries’ ability to detect and diagnose new cases of the disease.

Moeti urged leaders, governments, partners, communities, and all stakeholders to urgently foster the resilient health systems required to accelerate the TB response so that Africa can meet the Sustainable Development Goals targets by 2030.

“Yes, we can end TB in our lifetime.”

The World TB Day is commemorated yearly on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of this preventable disease and call for accelerated action to end it.

This year’s theme is “Yes, we can end TB,” focusing on the need to ensure equitable access to prevention and care, in line with our drive towards Universal Health Coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals.