The World Health Organisation (WHO), ahead of observing world Tuberculosis (TB) day on March 24 says progress towards global targets for reduction in TB cases and deaths has been impressive.
The world health body says the global burden, however remains huge and significant.
A document obtained by Ghana News Agency on WHO official website revealed that TB mortality has fallen more than 40 per cent worldwide since 1990, and the incidence is declining.
World TB Day is an opportunity to raise awareness about the burden of tuberculosis worldwide and the status of TB prevention and control efforts.
The document indicated that while new TB tools such as rapid diagnostics are helping transform response to the disease, the TB Day is an opportunity to mobilise political and social commitment for further progress.
It stated that in spite of the significant progress made towards global targets for lessening TB cases and deaths, in recent times the global burden was still high and substantial challenges persists.
According to the WHO in 2011, there was an estimated 8.7 million new cases of TB while 1.4 million people died from the disease.
More than 95 per cent of TB deaths occur in low and middle-income countries, with poor communities and vulnerable groups being the most affected, but this airborne disease is a risk to all,” it said.
TB is among the top three causes of death for women aged 15 to 44, while there is an estimated half million cases and 64,000 deaths among children in 2011.
The website said provision of antiretroviral therapy (ART) for TB patients known to be living with HIV needs to double to meet the Organisations’ recommendation that all TB patients living with HIV promptly receive ART.
It added that the African and European regions are not on track to meet the target of halving deaths from TB between 1990 and 2015.
According to WHO the funding gap for TB care and control is significant, saying from 2013 and 2015 up to $8 billion per year is needed in low and middle income countries for TB care and control.
Every year, funding falls $3billion short saying international donor funding is especially critical in the 35 low income countries where donors provide more than 60 per cent of current funding.
2013 is the second year of a two-year campaign for World TB Day, with the slogan “Stop TB in My Lifetime”.
WHO and the Stop TB Partnership, hosted at WHO, are together promoting World TB Day.
World TB Day provides the opportunity for affected persons and the communities in which they live, civil society organisations, healthcare providers, and other partners to discuss and plan further collaboration to fulfil the promise of “stopping TB in our lifetimes through advocacy and action”.