Note: World Lung Foundation united with The Union North America. From January 2016, the combined organization is known as “Vital Strategies.”
(New York) – On World TB Day, World Lung Foundation urges national governments to commit funds to identify and treat tuberculosis cases. According to the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Tuberculosis Control Report 2008, nine million people around the world die annually from the disease, which is totally curable.
Fifteen of twenty-two high-burden countries are on pace to miss their stated goals of 70% detection and 85% cure rates. This underperformance is largely attributable to insufficient human resources to implement proven strategies and insufficient funding to find new medicines or a vaccine. WHO estimates a total funding gap of $2.5 billion to eradicate TB globally.
Additionally, new highly virulent and contagious forms of multi-drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) are also spreading around the world, with millions of people at risk due to under-resourced programs.
“The increasing interconnectedness of the world's population means that the threat is increasing; but it also means that well-implemented local solutions such as the Directly Observed Therapy Strategy (DOTS), can have a truly global impact,” said Peter Baldini, Chief Executive Officer, World Lung Foundation. “With such risk and opportunity, it is inexcusable that the world's governments continually under-fund their national programs.”
Peter Baldini provided opening remarks at the 3rd Annual Community TB Forum in New York City in association with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. New York has been an exemplar in TB control, recording its fifth consecutive record low in reported cases and a 78% decrease from the 1990's.
World Lung Foundation provides financial and technical assistance to support research, public health education and training. It recently provided funding for a state-of-the-art MDR-TB training center in Manila, Philippines, which serves as a regional hub for TB control.