World Tuberculosis Day: 2.5m African contracted TB in 2022 – WHO

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The World Health Organization has disclosed that latest report on tuberculosis shows that in 2022 about 2.5 million individuals contracted TB equating to one person every 13 seconds. This is contained in a message from the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti as part of activities to mark the 2024 World Tuberculosis Day.

WHO further indicated that TB continues to be the second leading cause of death from a single infectious agent, surpassing the toll of HIV/AIDS. “The 72nd session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa in Lomé, Togo, in 2022 ignited a powerful movement toward ending tuberculosis (TB) – that of prioritizing childhood TB. Ministers of Health across the region united to address the needs of this often-overlooked population. “Since then, a 20% increase has been recorded in identified paediatric TB cases compared to the previous year. This signifies a positive step, indicating a more practical approach to recognizing TB in children and a decisive push to end this ancient disease.

“Today, we reflect on our progress while recognizing the challenges in our efforts to eliminate it as a public health threat. “TB continues to be the second leading cause of death from a single infectious agent, surpassing the toll of HIV/AIDS. According to the latest report, about 2.5 million individuals contracted TB in 2022 in the region, equating to one person every 13 seconds. “Additionally, the number of TB deaths in 2022 reached 424,000, resulting in the loss of one life every minute—even when TB is preventable and treatable. These figures underscore the urgency of our collective action in addressing the ongoing TB epidemic and highlight the need for sustained efforts to end it.

“WHO African Region supports our member states’ fight against TB in Africa by setting strategic directions, developing monitoring tools, like the African TB scorecard with the African Union, and ensuring progress towards the End TB Strategy. “Our Organization 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. Emphasizing 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.

“In the WHO African Region, we celebrate another milestone: diagnosing 70% 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.

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