WHO Decries Underfunding Of Tuberculosis Treatment in Africa

The World Health Organization, on Wednesday, said that the treatment of Tuberculosis is underfunded in Africa thereby leading to the death of about 500,000 people.

The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, made this known in commemoration of the World TB Day 2021 tagged : “The Clock is Ticking”.

She said that governments would have to do something about TB before it gets out of hand.

She also observed that the Covid-19 response had distracted health authorities in providing adequate treatment to other ailments like TB.

“Governments in the African Region are contributing 24% of these budgets on average and international organizations like the Global Fund are providing 34%, leaving a 42% funding gap. South Africa has the highest domestic funding in the Region, at 77%.

“For instance, in South Africa, monthly notifications of new TB cases fell by more than 50% between March and June 2020. In some countries, TB staff and testing equipment were reallocated to the COVID-19 response. At the same time, some mitigation measures were introduced, such as limiting the need for TB patients to visit health facilities by providing one month’s worth of TB medicines and using video messaging to continue with directly observed treatment.

“There is also the rising challenge of drug-resistant TB, which is estimated to affect 77,000 Africans each year.

” Among these, only one in three are diagnosed, and around 20,000 are put on treatment.

“Today, I call upon governments and partners to bridge the financial gap for the TB response in Africa so that the Region can get on track to reach the SDG targets for this disease, for the benefit of African populations and future generations,” she said.

She also urged governments to strategize so as to effectively contain the disease.

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