Countries pledge billions to fight tuberculosis worldwide

Updated - September 27, 2018 09:47 am IST

Published - September 27, 2018 09:45 am IST - UNITED NATIONS

The United Nations headquarters. Governments from around the world gathered on Wednesday to discuss the persistent scourge of tuberculosis, which last year claimed more lives than any other communicable disease.

The United Nations headquarters. Governments from around the world gathered on Wednesday to discuss the persistent scourge of tuberculosis, which last year claimed more lives than any other communicable disease.

The World Health Organization has said governments have agreed to contribute $13 billion a year by 2022 to prevent and treat tuberculosis, a communicable disease that claimed at least 1.3 million lives last year.

The agency said Wednesday that countries at a high-level meeting on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly committed an additional $2 billion annually for research into TB.

WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called the decision “a landmark in the long war on TB” that countries hope to win by 2030.

TB killed about 1.3 million people worldwide last year, making it the leading cause of death from an infectious disease ahead of HIV/AIDS. A further 300,000 people with both HIV and TB died in 2017.

While tuberculosis has been successfully contained with the help of modern medicine in many rich countries, instances of the disease remain high in poorer nations.

Experts have also warned that drug-resistant variants of this deadly communicable disease pose a growing threat, with India, China and Russia particular affected.

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