WHO has issued a news release: Progress in diagnosing multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. Excerpt:
Almost half a million people fell ill with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in 2012, yet less than one in 4 of these people was diagnosed, mainly due to a lack of access to quality diagnostic services.
But with an innovative international project, 27 countries are making promising progress in diagnosing MDR-TB, says WHO in the lead-up to World TB Day, 24 March.
The project known as EXPAND-TB (Expanding Access to New Diagnostics for TB), financed by UNITAID, helped to triple the number of MDR-TB cases diagnosed in participating countries.
“Earlier and faster diagnosis of all forms of TB is vital,” says Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “It improves the chances of people getting the right treatment and being cured, and it helps stop spread of drug-resistant disease.”
World TB Day 2014: Reach the 3 million
The theme for World TB Day 2014 is “Reach the 3 Million”. One third of the estimated 9 million people falling ill with TB each year do not get the care they need. In many countries, it is hard for people to access diagnostic services – particularly for MDR-TB.
Some countries have only one central laboratory, which often has limited capacity to diagnose MDR-TB. In some cases, patient samples have to be sent to other countries for testing. Moreover, traditional diagnostic tests can take more than 2 months to get results.
But the situation is beginning to change. New technologies can rapidly diagnose TB and drug-resistant TB in as little as two hours.
“The MDR-TB story is being transformed by a fertile mix of collaborators, including those working on access to diagnosis,” says Philippe Meunier, the French Government’s Ambassador for the fight against HIV/AIDS and communicable diseases. “Increased capacity and reduced prices mean more patients can be served, and global health risks would be diminished.”