This is one of the many side effects of the Covid-19 pandemic: for the first time in ten years, the number of deaths attributable to tuberculosis is on the rise again around the world.
The Covid-19 pandemic has reversed years of progress in the fight against tuberculosis. Thus the 2021 report of the World Health Organization on the disease shows that for the first time in more than a decade, deaths are on the rise.
With the difficulties in accessing healthcare in 2020, far fewer people have been diagnosed compared to 2019. WHO estimates that some 4.1 million people are currently suffering from this disease. We are far from the 2.9 million in 2019.
The offer of preventive treatment was also impacted: only 2.8 million people benefited from it in 2020, a reduction of 21% compared to the previous year.
As a result, last year around 1.5 million people died from tuberculosis. And the WHO expects a much higher figure for the period 2021-2022. Main countries affected: India, Indonesia, the Philippines and China.
WHO’s strategy at risk
“This report confirms our fears that the disruption of health services due to the pandemic could start to undo years of progress against tuberculosis,” warns Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the WHO.
“This news should serve as a global wake-up call to the urgent need to invest and innovate to fill the gaps in diagnosis, treatment and care for the millions of people affected by this ancient but preventable disease. . “
These statistical data jeopardize the WHO strategy to reduce the deaths due to the disease by 90% and the incidence rate of tuberculosis by 80% by 2030, compared to 2015.
Remember that tuberculosis is an infectious disease caused by a mycobacterium which is transmitted by air to both children and adults. It most often affects the lungs but also sometimes affects other organs and can progress to death if left untreated.
However, she is treated very well. Treatment requires taking several antibiotics (anti-tuberculosis drugs) for at least 6 months.