Sat | Apr 20, 2019

PAHO says Caribbean can end tuberculosis by 2030

Published:Friday | March 22, 2019 | 12:10 PM
CMC photo

WASHINGTON, CMC – The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) says the Caribbean as well as the rest of the Americas can reach the goal of ending tuberculosis (TB) in the next decade if countries are able to accelerate progress achieved so far, including reducing even more the number of deaths and new cases annually.

Ahead of World TB Day, which is celebrated on March 24, PAHO is urging countries to take the necessary steps to close the gaps in the care of people with tuberculosis, ensure early diagnosis with available new technologies, and work with the most vulnerable populations.

The international health organisation is also calling for sustainable financing for national tuberculosis programmes “so that countries can reach the goal of ending tuberculosis by 2030.

“While the Region of the Americas has managed to reduce new cases and deaths from tuberculosis in the last 15 years, ending this disease is only possible if progress is accelerated,” said Dr Marcos Espinal, Director of the Department of Communicable Diseases and Environmental Determinants of Health at PAHO.

“Countries should expand access to diagnosis with rapid molecular tests and timely quality treatment for those who need it. They must also work with people, communities and other sectors on the social determinants that facilitate transmission of this disease,” he added.

In 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated 282,000 new cases of tuberculosis in the Americas, 11 per cent of which were in people living with the HIV virus.

WHO said 87 per cent of cases were concentrated in 10 countries, with Brazil, Colombia, Haiti, Mexico and Peru reporting two thirds of the total cases and deaths.

According to a PAHO report published in September 2018, an estimated 24,000 people died in 2017 from tuberculosis in the region and 6,000 of them were co-infected with HIV.

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