UN health agency urges more funding to boost TB control in affected countries

UN health agency urges more funding to boost TB control in affected countries

The countries worst hit by the worldwide tuberculosis (TB) epidemic urgently need extra help if they are to meet ambitious global targets set for the year 2005, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) said today.

Experts working with WHO estimate that the total cost for TB control worldwide is $1.2 billion every year. Three quarters of that total is already covered by countries, donors and other sources. The remaining $300 million each year is urgently needed if the targets are to be met by 2005.

WHO's World Health Assembly has set global targets of detecting 70 per cent of TB patients and successfully curing 85 per cent of these patients by 2005.

"This is a race against time," said Dr. J.W. Lee, Director of WHO's STOP TB Department in Geneva. "Poor control practices in many countries and the TB/HIV co-epidemic mean that urgent action needs to be taken to control TB."

"This funding gap is clearly identified and affordable," he added. "If we are to meet these targets, we must act now."

According to WHO, the 22 countries worst hit by TB are: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, Viet Nam and Zimbabwe.