Rising Tuberculosis Infection: WHO Issues Warning On Healthy Living Says Close To 11million People Diagnosed Positive.

World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised the alarm over the increasing number of people infected with tuberculosis (TB) globally, adding that 10.6 million people were diagnosed with tuberculosis in 2021 with 1.6 million more succumbing to the disease.
The organisation noted that the figure recorded in 2021 represents a 4.5% year-on-year increase of the infection, with some experts claiming little attention was being paid to the dire situation since the disease mostly affected poorer regions.

The alarm was raised in a report WHO published on Thursday. The latter figure rose for the second consecutive year. The UN health agency clarified that the Covid-19 pandemic had contributed to the spike in TB-related deaths as lockdowns prevented many patients from getting a diagnosis or receiving treatment.

Commenting on the report’s findings, Dr. Lucica Ditiu, the executive director of the Stop TB Partnership, lamented that “despite this shockingly upward trend of TB mortality and infection rates, funding for fighting TB decreased in 2020 and 2021 from an already pathetically low level.”
Speaking to Britain’s The Guardian newspaper, she questioned whether the lack of resources was down to the fact that the infection “affects mainly poor people from poorer countries, and it is more comfortable to simply neglect them.”

Ditiu’s concerns were echoed by Mel Spigelman, president of the TB Alliance, who described tuberculosis as the “quintessential disease of poverty,” and suggested that this means that it does not have the “political pressure and financial incentives behind it that do diseases that affect the more affluent parts of global society.”

According to a report by the Treatment Action Group and the Stop TB Partnership issued in December 2021, the total amount of global funding for tuberculosis research was $915 million in 2020 – falling markedly short of the $2 billion target set by the UN in 2018. However, most of that money ended up being invested in Covid vaccines, instead of tuberculosis vaccine research, the groups claimed.

The WHO also reported a decline in global funding for essential tuberculosis services from $6 billion in 2019 to $5.4 billion in 2021.

Tuberculosis is a viral and potentially deadly disease, which mostly affects the lungs. Malnourished individuals and those with a weakened immune system are particularly at risk of infection