KARACHI: About one third of the world’s population is infected with tuberculosis (TB) bacteria. Only a small proportion of those infected will become sick with TB.
According to WHO report, people with weakened immune systems have a much greater risk of falling ill from TB. A person living with HIV is about 26 to 31 times more likely to develop active TB.
The Millennium Development Goal to reverse the tuberculosis epidemic by 2015 has been achieved. WHO’s Stop TB Strategy aims to ensure universal access to diagnosis, treatment and care for all people affected by TB, and drive down TB deaths and burden.
WHO’s End TB Strategy, adopted by governments at the World Health Assembly last year, is designed to drive action in three key areas: integrated patient-centred TB care and prevention for all in need, including children; bold policies and supportive systems; and intensified research and innovation.
The strategy sets ambitious targets of a 95% reduction in TB deaths and a 90% reduction in cases of TB by 2035. An important milestone to be reached within the next five years (2020) is the elimination of catastrophic costs for TB patients and their families. Eliminating catastrophic costs is feasible through making care more accessible and through financial protection schemes to minimize medical and non-medical costs as well as income loss.