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WHO TB report: "An indictment of the global failure to tackle DR-TB"
Today sees the launch of the World Health Organization's Global tuberculosis (TB) report for 2013. We call governments, donors, and the Global Fund to properly resource the treatment of this deadly disease.
The report looks at the current state of TB globally, including the rate of and access to diagnosis. It also looks at treatment successes and gaps, statistics on new infections and deaths, gaps in funding and research & development, and the response to the epidemic.
In response, Dr Philipp Du Cros, infectious disease specialist at Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), said:
“These shocking figures are an indictment of the global failure to tackle drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) head on. People are paying for this failure with their lives.
“Three in four people with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) are still not diagnosed, and 17,000 of those diagnosed in 2012 did not even start treatment. Unless we take urgent action, we will continue to see an increase in harder-to-treat drug resistant strains of TB.
"To save lives, we urgently need governments, donors, and the Global Fund to properly resource the treatment of this deadly disease. An extra $2 billion is needed to plug this DR-TB funding gap every year.
"We urgently need more research to make treatments for TB shorter, more effective and less damaging for patients. Patients with DR-TB currently face an agonising two year ordeal, taking large quantities of very harsh drugs with horrific side effects.
"Even then, it's only a flip of a coin chance that treatment will be successful".
MSF and tuberculosis
MSF has been involved in TB care for 25 years. MSF started treating MDR-TB in 1999 and has grown to become one of the largest NGO providers of MDR-TB care. In 2012, MSF treated 29,000 patients for drug-sensitive TB in 30 countries, and 1,780 patients for drug-resistant TB in 18 countries.
Find out more about MSF's work with tuberculosis