XDR-TB Threatens To Undo Progress Against HIV/AIDS in Africa, Editorial Says
The spread of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis -- TB that is resistant to the two most potent first-line treatments and some of the available second-line drugs -- is one of the "acute" threats to progress in combating HIV/AIDS in Africa, a Boston Globe editorial says. The other threat is "the departure of many of Africa's health professionals, who leave for more lucrative positions in North America and the European Union," the editorial says. A $300 million emergency funding bill pending in the Congress would help provide improved diagnostic tools and health care procedures -- as well as supply second-line TB drugs more swiftly than the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which runs on annual grant cycles -- the editorial says. In addition, a bill in Congress would provide $600 million over three years to keep health workers in Africa by supporting safer working conditions, the training and recruitment of health workers in underserved areas and improved health systems management, according to the editorial. Even if this bill is not passed, the Bush administration should encourage African governments to invest more in medical personnel and facilities to curb the flow of health workers to developed countries, according to the Globe. "Short-term help in limiting the spread of virulent TB and longer-term help in keeping trained African personnel from emigrating are sensible U.S. investments in the continent's future," the editorial concludes (Boston Globe, 3/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.