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14 Oct, 2020 14:30

Coronavirus pandemic could result in serious setback for global fight against tuberculosis, WHO warns

Coronavirus pandemic could result in serious setback for global fight against tuberculosis, WHO warns

Countries are failing to diagnose and treat tuberculosis (TB) due to the health crisis caused by coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said, cautioning that TB cases could spike unless urgent action is taken.

Programs designed to help eradicate the disease have suffered as containing Covid-19 has become a top priority for many nations, the WHO said in its annual TB report. The report found that tuberculosis killed an estimated 1.4 million people in 2019, a figure nearly identical to the 1.5 million deaths recorded in 2018. 

The reallocation of resources and medical personnel to fight coronavirus means that TB could see a resurgence in some countries. 

“Accelerated action is urgently needed worldwide if we are to meet our targets,” the WHO’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement concerning the report’s conclusions. 

A policy expert from the charity group Doctors Without Borders warned that progress against the deadly disease has been “dismally slow,” adding that it was “disheartening” that governments have fallen behind when it comes to tackling TB.

The global fight against coronavirus has resulted in a number of potentially disastrous consequences. David Beasley, Executive Director of the UN World Food Program (WFP), warned back in August that the worldwide economic shutdown following the outbreak could lead to a “famine of biblical proportions.” 

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