The annual Global Report on Tuberculosis from the World Health Organization has been published.
Each year, the WHO Global TB Report provides a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of the TB epidemic, and of progress in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease, at global, regional and country levels. This is done in the context of global TB commitments, strategies and targets.
New report shows that progress towards TB milestones and targets has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, the number of people dying from TB increased, previous declines in the annual number of people falling ill with TB slowed, far fewer people were diagnosed and treated for TB or provided with TB preventive treatment compared with 2019 and spending on essential TB services fell. TB was second only to COVID-19 as a leading cause of death from a single infectious agent. Modelling projections suggest that the impact of disruptions caused by the pandemic on the number of people developing TB and dying from the disease could be much worse in 2021 and 2022.
Global TB targets are mostly off-track, although there are some country and regional success stories. Actions to mitigate and reverse the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on TB are urgently needed. The immediate priority is to restore access to and provision of essential TB services such that levels of TB case detection and treatment can recover to at least 2019 levels.