HIV/AIDS Epidemic ‘Eclipsing’ Fight Against Tuberculosis in African Countries, PRI’s ‘The World’ Reports
Some African countries are "losing ground" in combating tuberculosis, as the newer epidemic of HIV/AIDS is "eclipsing the old, familiar scourge" of TB, "The World" -- a production of BBC World Service, PRI and WGBH Boston -- reported on Tuesday. According to PRI, the number of people with TB has "quietly tripled" while African leaders and Western donors have increasingly focused on fighting HIV/AIDS over the past decade (Marmion, "The World," PRI, 4/19). An annual World Health Organization report, released last month in observance of World TB Day and titled "Global Tuberculosis Control -- Surveillance, Planning, Financing," estimated that in 2003 -- the latest year for which data are available -- there were approximately 8.8 million new cases of TB worldwide. The global TB prevalence rate has declined by more than 20% since 1990, and TB incidence rates in 2003 were falling or stable in five of the six WHO regions of the world. However, as of 2003, the global TB incidence rate was growing by 1%, primarily because of increasing incidence in the African region. Since 1990, TB incidence rates in Africa have tripled in countries with high HIV prevalence and are increasing continentwide at a rate of 3% to 4% annually. Nearly one-third of the approximately 1.7 million TB-related deaths worldwide in 2003 occurred in Africa, where TB is the leading cause of death among HIV-positive people (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/24). The PRI segment includes comments from Patrick Bertrand, an advocate with the not-for-profit organization Massive Effort Campaign; Bayo Oyebade, a Nigerian pastor and founder of the Mashiah Foundation, which provides free counseling and medical care to Nigerians living with HIV/AIDS; Mario Raviglione, director of WHO's Stop TB Department; Nigerian women co-infected with HIV and TB; and physicians in Nigeria ("The World," PRI, 4/19). The complete segment is available online in Windows Media.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.