Efforts to combat tuberculosis thwarted

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For the first time in ten years, the number of deaths linked to the disease is on the rise. The direct result of the pandemic that disrupted prevention and treatment programs for patients. On the occasion of World Tuberculosis Day, Thursday, March 24, the World Health Organization and the Global Fund are calling on countries to revitalize their efforts to combat what were until recently the world’s deadliest infectious diseases.

With our correspondent in GenevaAnd the Jeremiah Lance

tuberculosis It is not the only disease that has developed during the pandemic. The observation is well known: With Covid health systems inundated, many other diseases have exploded. But this is especially true for tuberculosis, Françoise Vanni believes. She works for the Global Fund, the main financier to fight tuberculosis: “ Coughing syndromes and lung disease are symptoms that have been confused with Covid-19. Thus, they were instead asked to stay at home. What has also happened is that all health systems geared towards combating tuberculosis, including pulmonologists, have found themselves focused on Covid-19.. »

It is impossible to know how many people have been infected during the pandemic. But what we do know is that the number of people receiving treatment fell by about 1 million in 2020. Compared to 2019. With the risk that all those who went under the radar spread the disease a little more. ” A person who carries tuberculosis and is ignorant of it can transmit the disease to about fifteen people around him. So you can imagine that a million fewer people treated for less than a year can have a cascading effect Françoise Vanni adds.

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Two regions where the majority of cases are concentrated. This is Southeast Asia, as well as India and China, and Africa, but Europe is not spared from this. We know that tuberculosis is closely related to instability. From this point of view, the global rise in energy and food prices, as well as the collapse of the health system in Ukraine, could revive pollution a little more.

To read also: RFI knowledge file about tuberculosis

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