EUROPE/SPAIN - Alarm tuberculosis: outdated policies will not be able to stop the peak of TB drug-resistant strains

Friday, 31 October 2014

Barcelona (Agenzia Fides) - On the occasion of the 45th Union World Conference on Lung Health, being held in Barcelona, the NGO Doctors Without Borders (MSF) submitted its report, "Out of Step" which reveals deadly gaps in the TB response that are costing lives. Among them: poor access to drug resistance testing, a growing number of people diagnosed with DR-TB left untreated, continued use of outmoded and costly models of care, limited access to promising new and repurposed drugs, and dire funding shortfalls. This situation is fueling a public health crisis.
Based on a survey of eight high TB-burden countries, MSF’s research reveals that efforts to control the epidemic are dangerously out of step with international recommendations and proven best practices, leaving drug resistant forms of TB to spread unabated.
In a statement sent to Fides, MSF warns that governments, donors, and industry must act now, using every means available, to step-up the response to the crisis, or face a further growth in resistance.
According to an epidemiologist of the NGO in India, in Mumbai, sees that primary transmission of drug-resistant strains is likely driving the epidemic in hot spots like slums and within vulnerable groups such as people living with HIV. The latest damning data from the World Health Organization shows that less than a third of the estimated MDR-TB patients worldwide are diagnosed, and only one in five receive proper treatment. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 31/10/2014)