4.1 million people suffer from TB but have not been diagnosed or have not officially being reported.
The Health Strategist blog
Joaquim Cardoso, MSc
October 14th, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has reversed years of global progress in tackling tuberculosis and for the first time in over a decade, TB deaths have increased, according to the World Health Organization’s 2021 Global TB report.
In 2020, more people died from TB, with far fewer people being diagnosed and treated or provided with TB preventive treatment compared with 2019, and overall spending on essential TB services falling.
- The first challenge is disruption in access to TB services and a reduction in resources.
In many countries, human, financial and other resources have been reallocated from tackling TB to the COVID-19 response, limiting the availability of essential services.
- The second is that people have struggled to seek care in the context of lockdowns.
TB services are among many others disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, but the impact on TB has been particularly severe.
For example, approximately, 1.5 million people died from TB in 2020 (including 214 000 among HIV positive people).
The increase in the number of TB deaths occurred mainly in the 30 countries with the highest burden of TB.
WHO modelling projections suggest the number of people developing TB and dying from the disease could be much higher in 2021 and 2022.
Challenges with providing and accessing essential TB services have meant that many people with TB were not diagnosed in 2020.
The number of people newly diagnosed with TB and those reported to national governments fell from 7.1 million in 2019 to 5.8 million in 2020.
WHO estimates that some 4.1 million people currently suffer from TB but have not been diagnosed with the disease or have not officially reported to national authorities. This figure is up from 2.9 million in 2019.
The countries that contributed most to the global reduction in TB notifications between 2019 and 2020 were
- India (41%),
- Indonesia (14%),
- the Philippines (12%) and
- China (8%).
These and 12 other countries accounted for 93% of the total global drop in notifications.
There was also a reduction in provision of TB preventive treatment.
Some 2.8 million people accessed this in 2020, a 21% reduction since 2019. In addition, the number of people treated for drug-resistant TB fell by 15%, from 177 000 in 2019 to 150 000 in 2020, equivalent to only about 1 in 3 of those in need.
Funding in the low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) that account for 98% of reported TB cases remains a challenge.
Of the total funding available in 2020, 81% came from domestic sources, with the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa) accounting for 65% of total domestic funding.
Global Turberculosis Report
Global Tuberculosis Report
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