Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease that can be treated and cured. In spite of massive investments that have led to decreasing the epidemic by 37% between 2000 and 2016, tuberculosis has become the deadliest infectious disease with 1.6 million deaths in 2017 and among them, 300,000 HIV-positive people. Globally in 2017, among the 10 million people who developed TB, 3.6 million, i.e. around 36% of them, have not yet been diagnosed and treated.

Ambiya (15, Indonesia) Treated for MDR-TB At Persahabatan Hospital, Jakarta

Multidrug-resistant TB (resistance to 4 first-line treatments) and extensively drug-resistant TB (resistance to first- and second-line treatment regimens) show a constant increase. In 2017, around 558,000 people developed multidrug-resistant TB. Among them, 25% only have allegedly been diagnosed and notified.

Resistant TB represents around 1/3rd of all forms of antimicrobial resistance globally. And just over 50% of patients developing multidrug-resistant TB are successfully treated.

People living with HIV are more vulnerable to contracting TB, and those under antiretroviral therapy (ART) often face the consequences of negative drug interactions. In 2016, it was estimated that less than 50% of TB cases among HIV-positive people were diagnosed, and that less than 60% of known tuberculosis patients were tested for HIV.

Once called « the disease of the poor », TB grows mainly among people living in situations of poverty and among vulnerable people, thus feeding the cycle of ill-health and poverty. Malnutrition or inadequate living conditions are determinants that drive the outbreak and spread of the disease. TB has a high incidence among marginalised and discriminated populations, whose access to information and healthcare is hindered. The role of communities in managing TB detection, diagnosis and treatment is essential in terms of human rights and gender approaches. In the same vein, strengthening public health systems is a key component of the fight against tuberculosis.

Progress in Viet Nam in the Fight against TB

The political declaration supported by Heads of States and Governments during the U.N. High Level Meeting on the Fight Against Tuberculosis that took place in New York on September 26, 2018 calls for a strong commitment of the international community to tackle all the root causes exacerbating the outbreak and spread of the disease, as well as obstacles to eliminating the disease as a public health risk.

They commit to “mobilise sufficient and sustainable financing with the aim of increasing overall global investments for ending tuberculosis reaching at least US$ 13 billion a year by 2022” for universal access to quality prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care of tuberculosis. It is equally important to invest US$ 2 billion annually in research and development to close the current US$ 1.3 billion gap. It is an utmost priority to bring the fight against tuberculosis to an end.

To date, the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria provides 65% of all international financing for TB.