Half a million people die every year from tuberculosis in South-East Asia: WHO
New Delhi, 22 March 2012: The number of people with tuberculosis in the WHO South-East Asia Region has decreased by about 40% since 1990, due to improved detection and treatment. According to the World Health Organization, half a million people in the Region die every year from the disease. The South-East Asia Region has almost half of all the world’s tuberculosis cases, and five of the world’s 22 TB high-burden countries. India alone accounts for a quarter of all new cases. On World TB Day 2012, which is observed on 24 March, WHO calls for greater partnerships with all sections of society to eliminate this disease.
According to Dr Samlee Plianbangchang, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia: “Partnerships, education and empowerment of the people as part of primary health care, are key to eliminating TB. Partnerships, with NGOs, public and private hospitals, and others, since the 1990s, contributed to about 25% increase in case notification and more than 90% of the treatment success rate. However, tuberculosis is a disease of poverty and unless we reach the poorest of the poor, and focus on prevention and education, we cannot eliminate the disease.”
According to the WHO annual report on tuberculosis titled Tuberculosis Control in the South-East Asia Region 2012”, the South-East Asia Region registered an estimated 5 million prevalent and about 3.5 million incident TB cases in 2010. Though the death rates in the Region have declined due to successful implementation of the DOTS (directly observed treatment, short course), the disease still claims about half a million lives a year in the Region.
A growing number of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) diagnosis and treatment sites are being established in the Region. In 2010, almost 4000 MDR-TB patients were put on treatment. There are currently 105 000 MDR-TB cases estimated in the Region.
Collaboration between TB and HIV control programmes is also improving substantially but need further strengthening. In order to successfully control TB, national TB programmes also needs to address new issues such as the fragile funding situation, the introduction of new/rapid diagnostics, scaling up civil society’s involvement and addressing TB-diabetes and other co-morbidities.
For more information, contact:
Dr Md Khurshid Alam Hyder, Regional Adviser, Tuberculosis, WHO-SEARO. Telephone: + 91 11 23370804; email firstname.lastname@example.org, or Ms Vismita Gupta-Smith, Public Information and Advocacy Officer (PIA), WHO-SEARO; Tel: 91-11-23309401, mobile + 91 9871329861, e-mail: email@example.com,
Dr Supriya Bezbaruah, Communications Officer, Department of Communicable Diseases, WHO-SEARO. Telephone: + 91 11 23370804 ext 26584, mobile + 91 9958994671, email firstname.lastname@example.org For more information: www.searo.who.int/cds