Every year 9 million people globally get sick with Tuberculosis (TB). Unfortunately a third of them do not get the TB services that they deserve. Most of these 3 million people live in the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities, including those in the African Region.
It is estimated that TB killed over half a million people in the Region in 2013. The threat of drug-resistant TB and multi-drug resistant TB continues to be a serious problem complicating TB treatment.
The TB epidemic in Africa is largely fuelled by poverty and the simultaneous infection with HIV. Poor people living with HIV are more likely than others to become sick with TB.
Countries in the Region are making efforts to cope with the challenges. According to the 2013 Global Tuberculosis Report, 55% of notified TB patients who tested positive for HIV in the Region also received WHO recommended antiretroviral treatment (ART).
The rising trend of TB cases has been halted and continues to decline as treatment success rate improves. Equally, the death rate as well as the number of people who fail to complete their TB treatment continues to decline.
Countries should continue to intensify efforts to fight HIV which is an important contributor to the TB epidemic. To reach the missing patients and move towards eliminating TB there is need to scale up TB interventions such as, DOTS and TB/HIV collaborative activities among others, especially for the most vulnerable groups. TB prevention and control activities should be targeted at areas such as slums, prisons and mines.
The objective of the TB Programme contributes to the reduction of the TB disease burden in the WHO Africa Region through support to all member states to adopt and implement cost-effective TB prevention, treatment, care and support interventions in the context of strengthening Health system through the New Stop TB strategy.
Four major interventions have proven successful in the control of tuberculosis in the African Region:
For more information contact:
Dr Daniel Kibuga