WHO TB Experts Encourage Increased International Funding to Meet WHA Goals for 2005
Tuberculosis experts at the World Health Organization warn that international funding to fight the disease must be increased by $300 million in order to comply with the World Health Assembly goal of diagnosing 70% of the world's TB cases and treating 85% of the detected cases by 2005, Health Newswire reports. The experts estimate that meeting the WHA goal will cost approximately $1.2 billion per year, but pledged TB funding covers only 75% of this amount. Although approximately 84% of all detected TB cases in the 22 worst-affected countries are cured, only one-third of all TB cases are being detected under the current programs, according to WHO. "We only have three years left until the deadline for reaching the global targets," Dr. Jong-Wook Lee, director of the WHO Stop TB Partnership, said, adding that "[p]oor control practices in many countries and the TB/HIV co-epidemic mean that urgent action needs to be taken to control TB." Lee noted that TB is "an entirely curable disease" and that Directly Observed Treatment Short-Course Strategy (DOTS) -- the WHO-recommended TB control protocol -- is effective at controlling the disease (Health Newswire, 10/7).
Canada to Give $80 Million to Fight International TB
In related news, Susan Whelan, Canadian Minister for International Cooperation, announced on Sunday at the World Conference on Lung Health in Montreal that Canada would provide $80 million over four years to WHO's Stop TB Partnership. Canada's contribution will allow the Stop TB Partnership to expand the DOTS coverage to increase TB detection, improve TB cure rates worldwide and "reinforce" country-led TB prevention programs. "Canada is continuing its commitment to cure people of tuberculosis and halt the spread of this deadly disease," Whelen said, adding that Canada's monetary commitment to fighting TB will "help cure approximately two million people." At the conference, Whelan also accepted the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease Award honoring Canada's "outstanding commitment and contribution" to fighting tuberculosis worldwide on behalf of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA release, 10/6).