By Benjamin Flowers
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tuberculosis now ranks along side HIV as the world’s most deadly infectious disease.
WHO released the 20th installment of its Global Tuberculosis Report last Friday. It identified trends and presented statistics on TB spanning over the two decades of the report’s existence.
The report showed that even though TB-related deaths have fallen by 45 percent between 1990 and 2013, it has still managed to cause as many deaths per year as HIV.
WHO statistics say that TB killed some 1.5 million people in 2014 and a similar amount in 2013. Since the World Health body began tracking the mortality of TB, more than nine million people have died from the disease.
“We are still facing a burden of 4,400 people dying every day, which is unacceptable in an era when you can diagnose and cure nearly every person with TB”, said Dr. Mario Raviglione, director of WHO’s Global TB Programme.
“To end the epidemic (defined as an incidence of fewer than 100 cases per million people) by 2035, will require a rapid upgrade of care and managerial standards”, he said.
The WHO has highlighted a link between HIV and TB, showing that the total HIV deaths for 2014 numbered 1.2 million. 400,000 of these were related to TB. The organization says that the overlap makes it difficult to ascertain which infection actually killed more people.
According to the Ministry of Health’s National HIV/AIDS, TB, and other STI’s Report 2014, Belize, while doing well in TB reduction, fell short of the reduction targets for the Millenium Development Goals.
Now entering the era of the Sustainable Development Goals for the 2015-2030 period, more reduction and treatment efforts will need to be implemented in order to meet the new targets.