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Financial Times Opinions On World TB Day

Private Sector Should Play A Role In TB Control

“Governments and their international partners must recognise that health is an investment. The only successful exit strategy in the struggle against the TB, HIV and TB/HIV pandemics is to include them as part of broader development and poverty reduction strategies, and to strengthen health systems to respond more effectively to the needs of the most vulnerable populations. The private sector has a key role in making this happen,” according to a Financial Times opinion piece written by former President of Portugal Jorge Sampaio, the U.N. Secretary-General’s special envoy to Stop TB.

Sampaio outlines why businesses should support TB control programs. “Corporate responsibility projects can educate people, create greater awareness in their corporate communities, and advocate greater investment in research,” he writes. “This is a time of economic uncertainty, but few would disagree that hopes for the future are tied to the growth of more viable economies and expanded markets in the developing world. Providing TB care to all who need it is a vital step in this investment. We need new commitments, and we need to turn those commitments into action,” Sampaio concludes (3/23).

Africa Must Scale Up Its Ability To Fight TB

In a Financial Times opinion piece, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town South Africa Desmond Tutu reflects on the progress made in the global fight to control TB and his own battle with the disease when he was a teenager. He writes: “More than 60 years after I was afflicted with the disease, there has been progress, but Africa remains the epicentre of the epidemic, home to 20 percent of all TB patients, 70 percent of them co-infected with HIV, even though the continent’s share of the world’s population is only 11 percent. Between 1995 and 2003, although case detection rate rose from 23 to 48 percent, it has failed to progress much further since then.”

“The technical capacity to tackle TB in Africa needs to improve; laboratories need to be built and equipped; drug-resistant TB and HIV co-infection must be addressed; and African countries need the support to monitor second-line drug resistance and greatly strengthen their capacity to provide treatment and stem its rise,” according to Tutu. He concludes: “On World TB Day 2010, I join with the many other tireless campaigners and advocates to call on those who can make a difference to join us and Stop TB. What a splendid gift TB elimination will be for humanity’s third millennium” (3/23).