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Stopping TB Requires Dedication Of International Community

Noting that the WHO’s Global Tuberculosis Report shows “that access to care and treatment for tuberculosis [TB] has expanded substantially in the past two decades,” Deborah Derrick, president of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, writes in an AlertNet opinion piece, “Not only is this good news for those countries that are most vulnerable to tuberculosis; it is also good news for the global community,” as TB can be passed through the air. Derrick describes some of the interventions against TB instituted internationally, and she notes the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria “is the largest global donor to tuberculosis programs, providing 82 percent of international funding to fight the disease,” as well as “91 percent of international financing” to fight multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB).

“In the midst of this critical work, the world has never been better positioned to accelerate the fight against tuberculosis,” Derrick writes, adding, “There are already systems in place for detecting and treating tuberculosis in many developing countries, and the countries themselves often fund a significant portion of their own programs.” She describes new TB therapies and the implementation of the Gene Xpert rapid TB test in South Africa, saying such “innovations make diagnosis and treatment faster and less expensive.” Derrick continues, “With all we’ve achieved, we’re now close to realizing significant declines in tuberculosis infection and mortality, and we’re on the cusp of containing the threat of MDR-TB.” She notes “[t]he U.S. has been a strong supporter of the Global Fund’s work, and we must continue the fight,” concluding, “Better health is a global responsibility that can be accomplished through the dedication of governments, their citizens, and organizations like the Global Fund” (12/5).