Friday, March 25, 2016 11:05 am
By Eromosele Ebhomele
The World Health Organisation, WHO, has said 20 countries, including Nigeria, have the ‘highest absolute burden’ of tuberculosis.
The other countries are Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mozambique, Myanmar, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Russian Federation, South Africa, Thailand, the United Republic of Tanzania, and Viet Nam.
The global health body also listed 10 countries with the ‘highest incidence’ rates with, at least, 10 000 estimated new TB cases per year.
These countries include Angola, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Congo, Lesotho, Liberia, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
In this year’s World TB Day, with the theme: ‘Unite to End Tuberculosis’, the WHO is asking the world to unite in the fight against the deadly disease as the world enters the era of the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.
“Ending tuberculosis, TB, by 2030 is a target of the SDGs and the goal of the WHO End TB Strategy.
“That is an ambitious aim. While there has been significant progress in the fight against TB, with 43 million lives saved since 2000, the battle is only half-won: over 4 000 people lose their lives each day to this leading infectious disease.
“Many of the communities that are most burdened by tuberculosis are those that are poor, vulnerable and marginalized,” WHO said.
“Ending TB will only be achieved with greater collaboration within and across governments, and with partners from civil society, communities, researchers, the private sector and development agencies.
“This means taking a whole-of-society and multidisciplinary approach, in the context of universal health coverage,” WHO added however noting that some countries are strengthening the strategic agendas of their TB programmes by adopting newer tools, extending access to care and linking with other parts of government to reduce the financial costs borne by patients while other countries are partnering with researchers to speed development of diagnostic tests, drugs and vaccines, and to improve delivery.
WHO said TB ranks alongside HIV/AIDS, which is the world’s top infectious disease killer.
For example, figures from the UN agency, said in 2014, 9.6 million people fell ill with TB and 1.5 million died from the disease, including 380 000 among people living with HIV and that more than 95 percent of TB deaths occur in low and middle-income countries.
TB is among the top 5 causes of death for women aged 15 to 44.
*Eromosele can be reached at [email protected]