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Sunday, 24 March, 2002, 11:05 GMT
Funding 'hits tuberculosis fight'
TB patient in South Africa
There is an increasing link between TB and poverty
Lack of funding is affecting the speed at which targets are being achieved in efforts to bring tuberculosis (TB) under control, a new report by the World Health Organisation says.

At the current rate, TB targets set for 2005 will not be reached until 2013

WHO report
It was released to mark World TB Day on Sunday, which this year highlights the link between the disease and poverty.

TB kills two million people a year, and is the top cause of avoidable death in poor countries.

Health agencies also predict an increase in cases in the industrialised world as drug-resistant strains emerge.

The disease is spread when infected people cough, sneeze or talk - propelling the TB bacteria into the air for others to inhale.

Left untreated, each person with active TB will infect on average between 10 and 15 people every year.

Years behind schedule

The Geneva-based organisation declared TB a global emergency in 1993, aiming by 2005 to have 70% of all active infectious cases diagnosed and 85% successfully treated.

TB bacteria
TB symptoms include a persistent cough, fatigue, weight loss and fever
It said the $300m a year shortfall is slowing down the rate of expanding diagnosis and treatment services.

"At the current rate, TB targets set for 2005 will not be reached until 2013".

Campaign director JW Lee said the international community must respond as vigorously as the poorest countries to raise the money needed to implement WHO strategy for tackling the disease.

Regional focus

  • TB kills 1,000 mostly poor, productive workers daily in East Asia and the Pacific
  • The highest levels in the region are found in Cambodia, China, Laos, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Vietnam - all countries with high levels of povery
  • Russia registers no increase in the number of new cases for the first time in many years, but officials say the death rate from TB - which is common in jails - remains unacceptably high
  • While about 30,000 die in Russia from TB each year, the figure is 11,000 in neighbouring Ukraine - which the UN says has the fastest growing HIV/Aids infection rate in Europe
  • In Africa, TB is the top cause of death for people with HIV or Aids
  • Zimbabwe has six times more cases of TB than it did 20 years ago.
See also:

24 Mar 02 | Health
TB immune secrets probed
18 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
WHO warns of TB catastrophe
24 Apr 01 | Africa
TB on rise in Africa
24 Mar 01 | Europe
Russia faces TB time bomb
24 Mar 01 | Africa
World fighting growing TB threat
14 Dec 99 | Medical notes
22 Jun 01 | Health
More accurate TB test unveiled
11 Jul 01 | Health
Fungal link offers TB hope
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