The number of deaths from tuberculosis in the world due to Covid

 The World Health Organization on Thursday declared a new outbreak of tuberculosis around the world for the first time in a decade, due to Covid, which has complicated access to health care systems.

This represents a setback after years of progress towards tackling a curable disease that affects millions around the world.
WHO estimates that about 4.1 million people suffer from tuberculosis but have not been diagnosed or officially declared infected, compared to 2.9 million in 2019.

"This is worrying news that should serve as a wake-up call about the urgent need for investments and innovation to close the gaps in diagnosis, treatment and care for the millions of people affected by this ancient, preventable and treatable disease," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.

"For the first time in more than a decade, the World Health Organization has recorded an increase in the number of deaths from tuberculosis," Teresa Kasaeva, director of the WHO's International TB Program, told reporters.

She added, "Tuberculosis is the second contagious and deadly disease after Covid-19, as it kills about 4,100 people a day. About 1.5 million people died of tuberculosis in 2020.”

And Covid made the situation worse for people with tuberculosis, as funds allocated to the health sector were redirected to deal with the Corona virus, while people faced difficulties in obtaining the necessary care due to the closure measures.

The number of people receiving preventive treatment in 2020 decreased by 21 percent compared to the previous year.

"This report confirms our concerns that the disruption to basic health services as a result of the epidemic could destabilize the progress made over the years against tuberculosis," Tedros said.

About 1.5 million people died from tuberculosis in 2020, including 214,000 people living with HIV, according to the report. This compares with 1.2 million in 2019, including 209,000 infected with HIV.

TB is caused by bacteria that in most cases affect the lungs. Similar to Covid, it is transmitted by the air by infected people through coughing, for example.

The majority of tuberculosis cases are recorded in only 30 countries, mostly poor countries in Africa and Asia, and more than half of all cases are among adult men. Women represent 33 percent of cases, and children 11 percent.

While the World Health Organization aims to reduce deaths from tuberculosis by 90 percent, and the transmission rate by 80 percent, by 2030 compared to 2015, recent data poses a threat to this strategy, she said.

Models developed by the organization indicate that the number of people who will fall ill and die from the disease may "rise much more in 2021 and 2022".

The report stated that the number of newly diagnosed people and cases reported to national authorities decreased from 7.1 million in 2019 to 5.8 million in 2020.

India, Indonesia, the Philippines and China were the main countries that saw a decrease in the number of reported infections.

These countries, along with 12 other countries, constitute 93 percent of the global total decline in the number of reports of injuries.

The report stated that global spending on tuberculosis diagnosis, treatment and prevention services declined from $5.8 billion in 2019 to $5.3 billion the following year. The 2020 amount was less than half the global funding target for the disease.

About 85 percent of people with tuberculosis can be cured within six months if they receive the right medications, which also helps prevent the spread of infection.

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