One sentence in the G20’s Leader’s Declaration has excited those who have long seen tuberculosis as an underreported and underfunded threat to world health. For the first time, the G20 included tuberculosis on its list of issues they intend to focus on.
In a paragraph on Combatting Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), they emphasized “the importance of fostering R&D, in particular for priority pathogens” such tuberculosis and ebola.
Tuberculosis kills more than 5000 people a day. Many of those deaths are unnecessary because, if diagnosed in time, many cases are treatable. But a new strain that is not easy to treat has experts worried. More funding and research is desperately needed to counter the growing threat. According to The Huffington Post, “Global health experts have repeatedly warned of the growing threat of drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis, which are responsible for around 580,000 cases annually.”
Typical cases of TB have a cure rate of over 90 percent, but MDR-TB cases have a cure rate of around 50 percent.
The hope is that the inclusion in the G20’s declaration will lead to a worldwide awakening to the threat and a real commitment to providing the resources needed to effectively treat and control the spread of tuberculosis.