Home NewsAfrica World TB Day: 2.5m Africans contracted TB in 2022 – WHO

World TB Day: 2.5m Africans contracted TB in 2022 – WHO

by Haruna Gimba
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By Muhammad Amaan

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that more than 2.5 million individuals contracted Tuberculosis in 2022 in Africa, equating to one person per every 13 seconds.

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, Regional Director for Africa, WHO, said this in her message to commemorate the World TB Day with the theme “Yes! We can end TB.”

The day is marked on March 24 every year to create awareness about the impact of the disease.

Moeti said the number of TB deaths in 2022 reached 424,000, resulting in the loss of one life every minute even when TB was preventable and treatable.

She said that the region supported member states’ fight against TB in Africa by setting strategic directions, developing monitoring tools.

They include the African TB scorecard with the African Union, and ensuring progress towards the End TB Strategy.

“Our Organisation is dedicated to generating and sharing knowledge on effective TB control methods.

“We support countries by updating TB treatment guidelines to reflect the latest practices and expanding access to rapid diagnostic tools.

“Emphasising the importance of regional cooperation, the WHO African Region encourages knowledge exchange and collaborative efforts across countries, significantly advancing the mission to eliminate TB as a public health threat in Africa,” Moeti said.

According to her, the region celebrated another milestone: diagnosing 70 per cent of TB patients, marking a substantial reduction in missed cases and propelling us closer to our goal.

“This achievement is a testament to the relentless efforts of our member states and partners, showcasing what can be accomplished through a shared vision and concerted action,” she said.

According to her, between 2015 and 2022, the region achieved a remarkable 38 per cent reduction in TB deaths, surpassing the initial End TB Strategy milestone of 35 per cent by 2020.

“From 2015 to 2022, the region also saw a 23 per cent reduction in new TB cases, exceeding the initial End TB Strategy target of 20 per cent by 2020.

“All this underscores the effectiveness of implemented strategies and renewed commitment from countries,” Moeti said.

The director, however, said that while the reduction in TB deaths was commendable, it still falls short of the 2025 End TB Strategy target of a 75 per cent reduction.

“Similarly, the 23 per cent decline in TB incidence misses the mark of the 50 per cent reduction target for 2025.

“This highlights the need for continued and intensified efforts to meet these ambitious goals.

“Challenges such as delayed diagnosis, limited access to new tools and technologies, and the ongoing threat of multi-drug resistant TB require continued vigilance and sustained efforts,” she said.

Moeti called on stakeholders to join WHO by providing resources, enhancing community engagement, conducting research, and forming private-sector partnerships.

According to her, through such unified action, Africa can address the challenges of TB and achieve the goal of its elimination as a public health threat.

“I urge all our member states to prioritise a multi-faceted approach that addresses the root causes of the disease while bolstering our efforts in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

“I urge health leaders to intensify their commitment to strengthening health systems, ensuring equitable access to TB care, and scaling up innovative interventions,” she said.

Moeti said that investing in research and developing new tools, including vaccines and improved diagnostics, was essential to accelerate progress.

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