The World Health Organisation has said that access to tuberculosis (TB) services remains a challenge, and that global targets for prevention and treatment will likely be missed without urgent action and investments.
According to a press release by the WHO, approximately 1.4 million people died from TB-related illnesses in 2019. Of the estimated 10 million people who developed TB that year, some 3 million were not diagnosed with the disease, or were not officially reported to national authorities.
The situation is even more acute for people with drug-resistant TB. About 465 000 people were newly diagnosed with drug-resistant TB in 2019 and, of these, less than 40% were able to access treatment. There has also been limited progress in scaling up access to treatment to prevent TB.
“Equitable access to quality and timely diagnosis, prevention, treatment and care remains a challenge,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “Accelerated action is urgently needed worldwide if we are to meet our targets by 2022.”
About 14 million people were treated for TB in the period 2018-2019, just over one-third of the way towards the 5-year target (2018-2022) of 40 million, according to the report. Some 6.3 million people started TB preventive treatment in 2018-2019, about one-fifth of the way towards the 5-year target of 30 million.