WHO: Global Tuberculosis Report 2019

18 October, 2019

Read online: https://www.who.int/tb/publications/global_report/en/

New data on tuberculosis trends in 202 countries

TB remains one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. Millions of people continue to fall sick from TB each year. The Global TB Report 2019 provides a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of the TB epidemic, and progress in the response, at global, regional and country levels. It features data on disease trends and the response to the epidemic in 202 countries and territories.

The Global Report includes trends in TB incidence and mortality, data on case detection and treatment results for TB, multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), TB/HIV, TB prevention, universal health coverage as well as financing. It presents progress towards targets set at the first-ever United Nations General Assembly high-level meeting on TB in 2018, that brought together heads of state, as well as the targets of the WHO End TB Strategy and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The report also includes an overview of pipelines for new TB diagnostics, drugs and vaccines. Additionally, it outlines a monitoring framework that features data on SDG indicators that can be used to identify key influences on the TB epidemic at national level and inform the multi-sectoral actions required to end the TB epidemic.

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TB is the top infectious killer worldwide. TB is also the leading cause of deaths among people with HIV and a major cause of antimicrobial resistance related deaths

Drug resistant TB remains a public health crisis with gaps in detection and treatment. Only 1 in 3 needing treatment were enrolled on it.

Most of the gaps in detection and treatment were in the WHO African Region, where the burden of HIV-associated TB is highest.

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COMMENT (NPW): 'Only 1 in 3 needing treatment were enrolled on it.' This is an indictment of the global health system. More specifically: 'The number of people enrolled in treatment in 2018 was equivalent to only one in three of the approximately half a million people who developed MDR/RR-TB in 2018.' The diagnosis and correct treatment of people with tuberculosis (whether non-resistant or MDR/RR-TB) is critical and depends on the empowerment of health workers with their basic needs, including access to reliable healthcare information.

On our HIFA website, we note for example that 'More than 9 in 10 prescriptions for tuberculosis in India are incorrect, predisposing those patients and the general population to multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis in the future. (Mishra et al 2013)' It is vital to build a clearer, up-to-date picture of the quality of health care, and how this care can be improved.

This set of graphics shows large gaps in coverage across 48 high-TB burden countries: https://www.who.int/tb/data/GTBreportCountryProfiles.pdf?ua=1

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org