health

March 23, 2022

LINEO MABEKEBEKE

2 min read

WHO calls for investment against TB

WHO calls for investment against TB

WHO Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Story highlights

  • COVID-19 has had a negative impact on children and adolescents with TB
  • Investments in TB programmes have demonstrated benefits not just for people with TB

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THE World Health Organisation (WHO), a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) responsible for international public health has called for an urgent investment of resources, support, care and information into the fight against tuberculosis (TB).

TB is a bacterial infection spread through inhaling tiny droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person. It mainly affects the lungs, but it can affect any part of the body, including the tummy (abdomen), glands, bones and nervous system.

Urgent investments are needed to develop and expand access to the most innovative services and tools to prevent, detect and treat TB that could save millions of lives each year, says WHO Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Dr Ghebreyesus said in a statement this week that the investments offered huge returns for countries and donors, reduced health care costs and increased productivity.

“Investments in TB programmes have demonstrated benefits not just for people with TB but for health systems and pandemic preparedness,” the WHO boss said in the statement.

“COVID-19 has had a further negative and disproportionate impact on children and adolescents with TB or at risk, with increased TB transmission in the household, lower care-seeking and access to health services.”

WHO has urged countries to restore access to health services for all people with TB, especially children and adolescents on the World TB Day.

WHO’s global TB programme said children and adolescents with TB were lagging behind adults in accessing TB prevention and care, where WHO guideline is also a game changer for children and adolescents.

It helps them get diagnosed and access care sooner, leads to better results and cuts transmission.

WHO said the priority was to rapidly expand implementation of the guidelines across countries to save young lives and prevent suffering as TB remains one of the deadliest infectious killers.

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WHO calls on individuals, donors, communities and governments to do their part to end TB.

World TB Day is commemorated on March 24 every year to raise awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic.

The theme for 2022 TB Day is: Invest to End TB - Save lives, which conveys the urgent message to pool resources to ramp up the fight against TB and achieve the commitments by global leaders to end TB.

Most people infected with the bacteria that cause TB do not have symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they usually include a cough (sometimes blood-tinged), weight loss, night sweats and fever.

Treatment isn’t always required for those without symptoms. Patients with active symptoms will require a long course of treatment involving multiple antibiotics.

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