Experts say UN efforts to fight TB have flopped

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

GENEVA (AP) – Tuberculosis experts say global efforts to control the disease have failed and radical new strategies are needed to fight it.

In a special edition of the British medical journal Lancet on TB, officials say there is more tuberculosis now than at any other time in history. They report more than nine million people were infected worldwide last year and two million died.

The World Health Organization and its partners have fought TB through a program where health workers watch patients take their drugs. Drug-resistant TB can emerge when patients don’t finish their pills.

But health policy experts say because TB spreads widely among people living in overcrowded, dirty conditions, the problem is intertwined with poverty. One expert argues that the priority for controlling the disease’s spread needs to be “improved living conditions and economic growth.”

The head of the WHO's TB department says the agency is trying to understand how to fight the epidemic more effectively. Still, the WHO says its basic TB programs have saved up to six million from death.

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