South Africa is one of the countries with the highest burden of tuberculosis in the world. This is exacerbated by the HIV/AIDS epidemic and wide-spread drug resistance in the country.
Globally, an estimated 2 – 3 billion people are infected with tuberculosis (TB) and an estimated 10 million people developed active TB disease in 2018.
Globally there were 1.5 million TB deaths in 2018 (including 251 000 people living with HIV and AIDS). Of the 1.1 million children who fell ill with TB globally in 2018, 205 000 died as a result of the disease. These are all frightening and concerning statistics especially for a disease that is both preventable and curable.
Despite these high infection rate figures, new cases are reported to have declined by approximately 2% from 2017 to 2018, extending a trend that has been occurring for a number of years. An estimated 58 million lives were saved as a result of TB treatment and early diagnosis between 2000 and 2018. These downward trends are thought to be due in part to global TB control efforts that have made diagnosing TB more efficient and provided more people with access to TB and HIV medication.
However, more can and should be done to bring this disease under control and fulfil the aims of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) END TB Strategy and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This module brings you up to speed with how this disease is being managed with more effective testing, preventive therapy and better treatment regimens.