IOL News (10.24.2013)
A World Health Organization (WHO) report designated South Africa as one of 12 countries with the highest TB burden and predicted that South Africa would not meet its Millennium Development Goals of cutting TB prevalence and mortality in half by 2015. Of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—the BRICS nations—Russia and South Africa had the worst TB scores. Although Russia had made more progress in reducing TB incidence, South Africa had a 77-percent treatment success rate compared to Russia’s 65-percent success rate.
WHO reported a 45-percent decrease in TB mortality worldwide throughout the last two decades, but stated that incidence had not decreased quickly enough. Globally, new TB cases reached approximately 8.6 million diagnoses last year; approximately 1.1 million of these individuals also had HIV. WHO estimated that 530,000 new TB infections occurred among children, and 74,000 children not infected with HIV died of TB. In 2012, 170,000 of the 450,000 people who developed multidrug-resistant TB died. Although more men than women died of TB in 2012, TB continued to be one of the top three mortality causes among women worldwide. Last year, 410,000 women died of TB. The report estimated that South Africa and 11 other high-incidence countries had failed to diagnose or report approximately 3 million TB cases to national TB control programs.
The report predicted increased TB incidence in South Africa and called for “greater engagement” between government, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector. Doctors Without Borders stated that governments’ failure to improve TB diagnosis and treatment was a global crisis.