$1.5 billion needed to combat tuberculosis in worst-hit States: UN report

16 May 2001

Reaching international goals for fighting tuberculosis (TB) in the worst-hit countries will cost $1.5 billion in the coming years, according to a new report released today by the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO).

Entitled The Global DOTS Expansion Plan, Progress in TB control in 22 high burden countries 2001, the report shows that governments in affected States are currently providing most of the funds for fighting the disease, while donor grants cover just 5 per cent of the cost.

The report documents slow progress in reaching global targets for reducing TB, and blames this trend on a number of factors, including lack of political commitment, insufficient financial resources and an inadequate supply of anti-TB drugs.

Most of the countries concerned have detailed TB control plans, along with budgets spelling out exactly which areas require outside funding. "These country plans show us how we can turn the tide and prevent 25 million TB deaths over the next 20 years," said WHO Director-General Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland.

She pointed out that reaching global anti-TB targets would have an "overwhelming impact;" 50 million cases of the disease would be averted, and the emergence of drug-resistant strains would be prevented.


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