Most of the attention worldwide has been on the fight against coronavirus since last year. Due to this, WHO says around 4.1 million people have tuberculosis.
However, they have not been diagnosed or officially declared, up sharply from 2.9 million in 2019.
“This is alarming news that must serve as a global wake-up call to the urgent need for investments and innovation to close the gaps in diagnosis, treatment and care for the millions of people affected by this ancient but preventable and treatable disease,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO chief said in a statement.
Tereza Kasaeva, the WHO’s Global TB Programme Director says for the first time in a long time, WHO is reporting about an increase in TB.
“For the first time in over a decade WHO is reporting an increase in tuberculosis deaths. Tuberculosis is the world’s second top infectious killer after Covid-19, claiming close to 4,100 lives a day. Approximately 1.5 million people died from TB in 2020,” she said.
There was a drop in the number of people seeking preventative treatment from 2.8 million people in 2020, down 21 percent from 2019.
“This report confirms our fears that the disruption of essential health services due to the pandemic could start to unravel years of progress against tuberculosis,” Tedros said.
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