WHO fears Africa may not end TB by 2030
• Foundation, group urge better deal
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said Africa might not achieve tuberculosis (TB) leg of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) by 2030 going by the current progress rate.
The global agency noted that TB infections would have to increase from the yearly decline of four per cent to five per cent in 2020 to 10 per cent by 2025, and then to an average 17 per cent yearly in the following decade.
WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, who made the disclosure in a message to mark the 2022 World TB Day, observed that the globe saw an increase in fatalities for the first time in over a decade in 2021, and contributing factors, including reduced access to diagnosis and treatment in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She noted that with 36 per cent of TB deaths occurring in Africa, failure to invest in response was to take a toll on African nations, stressing that increased investment could be a game-changer to save millions of persons.
Moeti said: “At the UN High-Level Meeting on TB in 2018, world leaders agreed to mobilise $13 billion per year to finance TB prevention and treatment by 2022 and promised another $2 billion per year for TB research in the face of growing concerns around drug-resistant TB.”
However, funding for TB prevention, diagnosis and treatment services continues to fall far short of the estimated global need and the United Nations global target.
In 2020, global spending on TB services fell to $5.3 billion, and funding for research was $901 million. While national strategic plans and accompanying budgets for tuberculosis have grown in ambition, mobilisation of funds has not kept pace. In Africa, governments contribute only 22 per cent of the resources required to deliver adequate TB services, with 44 per cent going unfunded, seriously impeding efforts to reduce the disease’s burden.”
BESIDES, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has urged governments worldwide to increase resources for the prevention and treatment of more than 4,100 patients.
The Country Director, Dr. Echey Ijezie, who made the appeal in Abuja, regretted that nearly 28,000 others had contracted the virus.
ALSO, the Nigerian Thoracic Society (NTS) has charged the governments and stakeholders to invest in saving lives.
In a statement, yesterday, by the president, Prof. Prince Ele and Secretary-General, Dr. Abiona Odeyemi, the body pointed out that the global effort to end the scourge had been significantly hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic.