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article image'Global shortfall' in funding to fight tuberculosis

By Tim Sandle     Mar 20, 2013 in Health
Global health campaigners have said that $1.6 billion a year is needed to fight tuberculosis and that the current lack of funding is hampering progress made against the world’s second-deadliest infectious disease.
The World Health Organization and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria have said in a joint statement that the current global funding to fight tuberculosis (TB) is insufficient. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is an international financing organization that aims to "attract and disburse additional resources to prevent and treat HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria."
The current budget for fighting TB is $3.2 billion. However, global health campaigners argue, according to Bloomberg, that this needs to rise by $1.6 billion to $4.8 billion. The international bodies argue that the additional funds may enable treatment for 17 million people and save 6 million lives from 2014 to 2016.
In a more detailed report, the WHO states: “There has been significant progress over the past two decades; access to quality TB care has expanded substantially. International donor funding is critical to sustain gains and accelerate impact. WHO estimates that if the funding gap is filled- it could enable full treatment for 17 million TB and MDR-TB patients and save 6 million lives over the next three years.”
Tuberculosis is estimated to have killed 1.4 million people in 2011. 'TB' is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria. Tuberculosis typically attacks the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. It is spread through the air when people who have an active TB infection cough, sneeze, or otherwise transmit respiratory fluids through the air
The extra funds, according to Fox, are to help identify all new cases of TB and step up treatment of drug-resistant strains over the next several years. However, this increased spending will require an increase in donations from the international community.
The WHO statement comes on top of concerns that insufficient tuberculosis drug stocks are complicating multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) treatment in the United States (which the Digital Journal reported on in January 2013). The funding shortfall also comes as the scientific community seeks new and novel medicines in an attempt to fight the disease.
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