How Big is the Threat of Tuberculosis Around the World?

By Global Moms Challenge

November 2, 2015

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released the Global Tuberculosis (TB) Report 2GTBreport2015_blue_200x283px015. The report makes this year a watershed moment in the battle against TB, particularly in light of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or global goals, as the world works tirelessly to end this disease.

The good news

TB deaths have fallen by nearly half since 1990, with most improvements occurring since 2000 when the United Nations set Millennium Development Goals for reducing the disease. One of the additional benefits has been that global health officials are better able to track cases than ever before.

The bad news

Despite these advances, TB still killed more than 1.5 million people in 2014. More cases were reported among children than previously thought – nearly double the number reported last year. Out of the 9.6 million infected with TB in 2014, data shows that 3.2 million women and 1 million children were infected. Tragically 140,000 of these children died.

WHO estimates overall totals could be even higher, with nearly 40% of cases undiagnosed worldwide. In addition, 12% of the 9.6 million new people diagnosed with TB in 2014 were also HIV-positive. This news makes us more aware that TB is one of the world’s biggest threats and that most of these deaths could have been prevented.

tb-patient-nepal630Outpatient assistant Ganga KC at Alka hospital’s tuberculosis (TB) treatment centre, south of Kathmandu in Nepal

What can be done

In order to reduce TB, we’ve got to get better at detection, access to treatment must be greater, more funding is needed and new medical tools are needed in the areas of diagnostics, drugs and vaccines development.  We know what works: effective diagnosis and treatment saved 43 million lives between 2000 and 2015.

Take Action Challenge

Watch and share the video from actress Emma Thompson on why fighting TB matters so much to her.

How does this information make you feel and what can you do to help the effort to raise money to fund a vaccine that can save the lives of so many women and children globally? Let us know on our Facebook page.

You can find the full WHO report here. Check out key TB facts from WHO here.


Photo credit: WHO/A. Bhatiasevi

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