Report: 20 Million Lives Saved Through TB Care and Control WHO releases "Global Tuberculosis Report 2012"

17 October 2012

Washington DC – A report released today by the World Health Organization states that millions of lives have been saved thanks to TB care and control measures, but warns that the fight against the disease remains critical due to a gap in funding.

"In the space of 17 years, 51 million people have been successfully treated and cared for according to WHO recommendations. Without that treatment, 20 million people would have died," said Dr Mario Raviglione, Director of the WHO Stop TB Department. "This milestone reflects the commitment of governments to transform the fight against TB."

The achievements have been secured by leadership in countries where TB is endemic and by international support. Today, 90% of international donor financing for TB is provided by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. By the end of 2011, programmes supported by the Global Fund detected and treated 8.6 million people with TB.

The report states that data from 204 countries and territories confirm that TB remains a major infectious killer today. The report praises the worldwide roll-out of a new diagnostic device that can test patients for TB, including drug-resistant TB, in just 100 minutes. It also points to the promise of medical breakthroughs from new TB drugs - the first in over 40 years - which could be on the market as early as 2013.

However, WHO today warned that the global fight against the disease remains fragile. The report notes that there is a US$ 1.4 billion funding gap per year for research and development, and that a US $3 billion per year funding gap could prevent TB care progress.

"The momentum to break this disease is in real danger. We are now at a crossroads between TB elimination within our lifetime, and millions more TB deaths," says Dr Raviglione.

Maintaining the gains of investments in TB control and achieving faster progress towards the 2015 global targets for TB control, depends on the commitment of donor nations to continue to drive down the global epidemic of TB, a disease that knows no borders.

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