The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released the Global Tuberculosis (TB) Report 2015. 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.
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.
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Photo credit: WHO/A. Bhatiasevi