International Community Should Ensure Access to Diagnostic, Treatment Services To Control TB in Africa, Blog Entry Says
Tuberculosis "remains the most common cause of adult death in some countries" even though the global health community knows "what causes" the disease, "how it spreads" and "how to treat it," Ruth McNerney of the TARGETS Consortium at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine writes in the Guardian's "Katine Chronicles" blog.
Although "it is no surprise" that TB declined in developed countries "with improving standards of housing, nutrition and education," the "situation in Africa is very different," McNerney writes. She writes that "[p]overty remains endemic" in Africa, contributing to the spread of TB, adding that the situation is "made worse by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which greatly increases susceptibility to TB." McNerney continues that although the "international community has responded by providing donor aid" through programs such as the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the "battle against TB is not being won" because the "emergence of drug-resistant forms of the disease has set alarm bells ringing."
McNerney writes that despite these obstacles, the international community "could make an impact" by ensuring access to TB diagnostic and treatment services. "Without a means of detecting TB that is accessible to people living in poverty, the prospects of controlling this disease are poor," she writes. She concludes that it is "time to spend our money a little more wisely" and "invest where we might really make a difference" (McNerney, "Katine Chronicles," Guardian, 4/21).