NEWS ALERT - 7 November 2023 l Geneva, Switzerland
7 November, Geneva, Switzerland – The WHO Global TB Report 2023 – containing the 2022 data was just released. The data released by WHO confirms an amazing achievement: In 2022, a year when the COVID pandemic was still present, the TB programmes in countries managed to diagnose and treat the highest number of people with TB ever since the first WHO Global TB Report was launched in 1995.
“The WHO TB Report launched today tells a typical underdog story: in spite of still fighting the COVID epidemic in 2022, in spite of incredibly low financial resources and limited visibility, in spite of the disbelief of so many - our TB healthcare providers, TB programme managers, nurses, community workers, laboratory technicians, advocates, pharmacists, epidemiologists came together like never before and managed to diagnose and treat 7.5 million people with TB the largest number of people with TB since 1995 when this report started being produced,” said Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director, Stop TB Partnership.
“Respect to everyone that worked so hard to achieve this! So, now – that we show is possible, that we showed it can be done – can we get the financial resources and the political commitment that we are done once and for good with this disease? Is a matter of choice for the governments, donors and all of us – because we know that Yes! We can end TB,” she added.
This is an incredible and remarkable achievement, as this level surpasses the pre-COVID numbers of 7.1 million people with TB who were diagnosed and treated in 2019 and represents a significant jump of more than 1 million additional people with TB accessing care versus 2021 data.
We are calling on everyone to take a moment and celebrate every single doctor, nurse, TB programme manager, laboratory technician, community worker, activist, advocate, TB survivor, epidemiologist, minister of health, technical partner and donor who made this possible through their work.
These are not estimates, these are not just numbers coming from a modelling exercise, but real people – diagnosed and treated in 2022. In most TB high-burden countries, the National TB programme managers and their teams buckled up and showed that it is possible to be ambitious and use any single opportunity to bounce back after the COVID pandemic.
A special mention for India, Indonesia, Philippines and Pakistan as these countries together contributed 75% of the increase in diagnosing and treating people with TB in 2022. The number of people who died from TB in 2022 decreased to 1.3 million or 3,500 per day – a small decrease but a long way to go.
Of course, there is a slight increase in the TB incidence – expected after the COVID-19 impact – we will recover from that as well. So, we call now on all the governments and donors to understand that TB response delivers and is a winning card to bet on!
What we need, are the financial investments promised in the UNHLM 2018 Political Declaration on TB and committed in the UNHLM 2023.
We Need The Money!
We need the funding to ensure that what we offer people with TB is a comprehensive package of care that includes diagnosis, treatment, prevention and care, protects people against catastrophic costs, addresses community, rights and gender-related barriers, and ensures that co-morbidities and social determinants are being addressed.
We had enough of offering people with TB just bits and pieces of what a proper TB programme should include. We need the funding because we cannot accept the fact that less than 50% of people with TB had access to Rapid Molecular diagnosis in 2022, and that only about 2 in 5 people with drug-resistant TB accessed treatment.
We need the funding as we cannot accept that 215,000 children with TB died in 2022 - that is 590 children dying every day due to TB.
We need the funding because we cannot accept that only 3.8 million people will receive TB preventive treatment in 2022.
We need the funding as we have countless new tests and procedures for TB diagnosis in the research pipeline, 28 new drugs for TB treatment and 16 vaccine candidates in clinical trials and we want them to become available for use.
We need the funding because less than half of the global target on TB financing for implementation and scale-up was met ($5.8 billion available out of $13 billion needed per annum), as well as for research and development ($1 billion available out of the $2 billion needed per annum).
We have now the taste of ambition and winning in front of this old airborne pandemic, and we will not take NO for an answer!
We showed that we can go closer and closer in reaching with services – diagnostics, treatment, prevention and care - every single person with drug-sensitive or drug-resistant TB, adults, or children.
We know that ‘Yes! We can end TB’ – it is your choice: join us and make history by ending this old airborne pandemic once and for all!