The overall progress worldwide to get rid of the tuberculosis (TB) epidemic has not been fast enough as the disease still remains a high burden for many, according to a latest World Health Organization (WHO) report on Monday.
Globally, TB is the ninth leading cause of death and the leading cause from a single infectious agent, ranking above HIV/AIDS. In 2016, an estimated 10.4 million people worldwide fell ill with TB, leading to more than 1.67 million deaths, according to the WHO global tuberculosis report 2017.
WHO's End TB Strategy and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) dictates that by 2030 TB deaths are supposed to be down by 90 percent and TB incidence (new cases per year) down by 80 percent, compared with 2015.
Despite the fact that global TB mortality rate and TB incidence are now falling at about three percent and two percent per year respectively, these figures need to improve to four-to-five percent and ten percent per year respectively by 2020 so as to reach the first milestones of the End TB Strategy.
A key to successfully fill these gaps would be to ramp up efforts in those high TB burden countries, the report suggests.
Today, ten countries account for 76 percent of the total gap between TB incidence and reported cases, with India accounting for 25 percent and Indonesia 16 percent.
Though financing for TB care and prevention has been increasing for more than ten years, funding gaps still exist and is reaching 2.3 billion U.S. dollars worldwide in 2017.
The report calls for more resources from both domestic sources, especially in middle-income countries, and from international donors, especially in low-income countries.