An estimated 20 million people are alive today as a direct result of TB care and control, according to the World Health Organisation Global Tuberculosis Report 2012.
In a press statement, the WHO states that in a space of 17 years, 51 million people have been successfully treated and cared for in accordance withWHO recommendations.
“Without that treatment, 20 million people would have died. This milestone reflects the commitment of governments to transform the fight against TB,” says Dr Mario Raviglione, director of the WHO Stop TB Department.
However, the WHO warned that the global fight against the disease remains fragile.
“The momentum to break this disease is in real danger. We are now at a crossroads between TB elimination within our lifetime, and millions more TB deaths,” says Dr Raviglione.
According to the report new data confirm that TB remains a major infectious killer today.
“The findings show a continued decline in the number of people falling ill from TB, but still an enormous global burden of 8.7 million new cases in 2011. An estimated 1.4 million deaths from TB, including half a million women underlines that the disease as one of the world’s top killers of women,” the report states.
The report adds that despite reduced rates of new disease and deaths in all of WHO’s six regions, African and European regions are not yet on track to achieve goals to halve 1990 levels of mortality by 2015.
“Persistently slow progress in the MDR-TB response, with only 1 in 5 patients estimated to exist being diagnosed world-wide. The report also highlights country successes among them Cambodia which has seen a 45 per cent drop in TB prevalence between 2002 and 2011 and, in all, it features data from 204 countries and territories and covers all aspects of TB, including multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), TB/HIV, research and development and TB financing.”