Strategic Initiative to reach missed TB cases a critical component of grant
01 December 2017 | GENEVA - The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) extended their close partnership with a new cooperation agreement to help countries accelerate efforts to end the tuberculosis (TB) epidemic by 2030. The overall agreement includes financing support for all three diseases - HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, as part of efforts to achieve universal health coverage.
“The agreement will enable the rapid uptake and scale up of policies, successful approaches and innovations, as well as promote the better use of data in reaching people with TB who miss out on care,” said Dr Haileyesus Getahun, Director a.i. WHO Global TB Programme. “The signing of this agreement on World AIDS Day - which focuses on the right to health and making everybody count, signals the commitment of both organizations in empowering countries to ensure no one is left behind in reaching care. We stand ready to take this initiative forward with the Global Fund and partners, which will be a critical catalyst in reaching the global End TB targets by 2030.”
The TB-component of the agreement places special emphasis on finding people with TB who are missed by health systems. As reported by WHO this year, of the estimated 10.4 million new cases in 2016, only 6.3 million were detected and officially notified, leaving a gap of 4.1 million people who were missed. This is largely due to under-reporting and under-diagnosis of people with TB, especially in countries with large unregulated private sectors, weak health systems and poor engagement of community stakeholders. These people do not get the TB care that they need and deserve. For people with drug-resistant TB, the situation is even more exacerbated with only one in five people with MDR-TB gaining access to treatment.
“The Global Fund is pushing boundaries to close the case detection gap which has plagued the overall TB response for years,” said Dr Eliud Wandwalo, Senior Disease Coordinator, TB, at the Global Fund. “We have set an ambitious target of finding and treating an additional 1.5 million missing cases of TB with the support of global health partners and implementers from 13 countries by the end of 2019. We hope this will provide much-needed impetus at all levels to begin closing gaps and ensuring universal access to care.”
WHO and the Global Fund have a long and successful partnership working together to scale-up HIV, TB and malaria interventions and strengthen health systems in many countries. This collaborative effort has resulted in significant reductions in the disease burdens of HIV, TB and malaria worldwide, saving millions of lives since 2002.
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