Tuberculosis

  • In 1993 the WHO declared TB a Global Emergency.

  • Roughly one third of the world's population, one in three of you and me, is infected with TB. 

  • 1.3 million people died of TB in 2012 (we believe this is an under-estimation)

  • TB is the leading killer of people living with HIV

  • An estimated 450 000 people developed MDR-TB in 2012

  • KPMG economist Yael Selfin estimates that there could be 76 million cumulative deaths of MDRTB by 2050

and yet

  • TB, in the West, is often seen as a disease of the past. 
  • WHO reports an annual funding gap of US$ 1.6 billion. 
  • WHO reports only 20% of TB patients estimated to have Drug Resistant are detected and treated (and this time we believe this to be an over-estimation). 

 


Unfortunately, it's much worse than that 

  • The WHO numbers are strongly contested 
  1. Carole Mitnik, Professor of Global Health at Harvard Medical School, estimates only %10 of DR-TB cases are treated - and at best only half of these will be cured.. 
  2. Paul Farmer and Salmaan Keshavjee (PIH) are less optimistic and say its even less.

That there is no consensus between the international organisation designated to deal with pandemics, the WHO, and the recognised world experts in TB, Farmer et al, as to the scale of the drug-resistant TB pandemic is cause for great concern. The scale of the problem, over twenty years after it was declared a Global Emergency, should hardly be being disputed by a factor of as much as twenty. This refusal to accept the possible existing magnitude of the problem is reflective of the lack of response as a whole.