The WHO estimates that some 4.1 million people have tuberculosis, but they have not been diagnosed or have not been officially declared, a figure much higher than the 2.9 million in 2019.
According to the report, last year there were 214,000 deaths from tuberculosis among HIV-positive people (compared to 209,000 in 2019) and 1.3 million deaths from tuberculosis among other patients (compared to 1.2 million in 2019).
That is, 1.5 million deaths in total, a figure that had not been reached since 2017, specifies the WHO.
“This report confirms our fears that the disruption of basic health services due to the pandemic could reduce years of progress against tuberculosis to nothing,” insisted Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, in a statement.
A report by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (of the WHO) had reported in September a setback in the prevention and treatment of these diseases during 2020, for the first time since 2002.
“The impact of Covid-19 in the fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria in the communities we support has been devastating. For the first time in the history of the Global Fund, key programmatic outcomes have receded, ”said Peter Sands, CEO of the entity.
The Fund indicated that the pandemic had a “catastrophic” effect on the global fight against tuberculosis, to the point that the number of people treated for drug-resistant tuberculosis fell 19%.
In the countries where the Global Fund invests, some 4.7 million people were treated for tuberculosis in 2020, about a million less than the previous year, according to the aforementioned report.
Global spending on tuberculosis diagnosis, treatment and prevention also fell, from $ 5.8 billion (€ 4.9 billion) to $ 5.3 billion (€ 4.5 billion) in 2020.
This reduction implies less than half of the global financing objective, set at 13,000 million dollars (11,200 million euros) per year between now and 2022.