Global Health Partners and Implementers from 13 countries – including Nigeria – with a high burden of Tuberculosis (TB) have launched a programme to find and treat 1.5 million missing cases of TB by the end of 2019.
The new initiative is important in stopping the spread of TB and reaching the global goal of ending TB as an epidemic by 2030.
A statement by Ibon Villelabeitia, Communications Specialist, Global Fund, said the new effort seeks to support a combination of innovative and targeted programmes to promote better use of data and approaches to find more missing cases of TB.
The 13 countries to implement the programme include Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania, Ukraine, Kenya, Mozambique and India.
According to the statement, the decision is a fall-out from the 48th Union World Conference on Lung Health in Guadalajara, Mexico.
It said that every year, 10.4 million people get sick with TB, which is a preventable and curable disease.
“Of those individuals, 40 percent do not even receive care; they are `missed’ by health systems after failing to be diagnosed, treated or reported.
“The result is that many will die or continue to be sick and transmit the disease or, if treated with improper drugs, contribute to the growing menace of drug resistance,’’ the statement said.
The statement quoted Dr Eliud Wandwalo, Senior Disease Coordinator, TB, Global Fund, as saying: “Urgent action is needed to break the transmission cycle of TB and drug-resistant TB to save millions of lives.
“It is also to achieve the global goal of ending TB as an epidemic by 2030; the longer the delay in finding the missed cases, the longer it will take to reach set global targets.’’
Dr Sahu Suvanand, the Deputy Executive Director of Stop TB Partnership, said: “This is a great opportunity for all of us to support countries in finding the missing people with TB. These are people who have been so far left behind in some of the most vulnerable and underserved populations.