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World TB Day: WHO seeks investments in research, new tools

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for investment in research and development of new tools, including vaccines and improved diagnostics for tuberculosis. WHO Regional…

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for investment in research and development of new tools, including vaccines and improved diagnostics for tuberculosis.

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, made the call in her statement to mark this year’s World Tuberculosis Day.

She said doing so would help accelerate progress in ending the disease.

Dr Moeti said TB continues to be the second leading cause of death from a single infectious agent, surpassing the toll of HIV/AIDS.

Quoting the latest report, she said about 2.5 million individuals contracted TB in 2022 in the region, equating to one person every 13 seconds.

In addition, she said the number of TB deaths in 2022 reached 424,000, resulting in the loss of one life every minute—even when TB is preventable and treatable.

“These figures underscore the urgency of our collective action in addressing the ongoing TB epidemic and highlight the need for sustained efforts to end it,” she said.

The WHO regional director urged all member states to prioritize a multi-faceted approach that addresses the root causes of the disease while bolstering our efforts in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

She urged health leaders to intensify their commitment to strengthening health systems, ensuring equitable access to TB care, and scaling up innovative interventions.

She further said that countries must prioritize addressing the social determinants of TB, such as poverty, inequality, and limited access to healthcare, to achieve sustainable outcomes, adding that collaboration across sectors and borders is paramount.

 

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