Statement from Friends of the Global Fight’s Executive Director, Natasha Bilimoria, on World Tuberculosis Day
With today being World Tuberculosis Day, it seems only fitting that I draw your attention to the great progress that has been made in the worldwide fight against tuberculosis.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has been a leader in prevention and treatment of this disease, which kills two million people every year. Some 30% of the world’s population, or approximately two billion people, are infected with the tuberculosis bacilli, and one in ten of these people will become sick with active tuberculosis. The Global Fund is the largest single source of financing for tuberculosis control efforts globally, providing almost 60% of all international funding for tuberculosis. As of this month, it has approved tuberculosis grants in 110 countries, totaling $3.1 billion in financing.
Work in the Philippines exemplifies the Global Fund’s success. The Philippines is one of 22 high-burden tuberculosis countries around the world. As of 2008, with the help of two grants worth $113.7 million from the Global Fund, the Philippines saw a 44% decline in tuberculosis mortality. By making high-quality treatment services widely available and accessible to all those who need them, especially the poor and most vulnerable, tuberculosis cases can be successfully detected and treated.
This work is just one example of the Global Fund’s success; tuberculosis programs sponsored by the Global Fund are expanding in several high-burden countries, and in many other countries where the burden is less but still must be addressed. Perhaps most importantly, despite new challenges with HIV/TB co-infection, tuberculosis mortality is declining around the world.
As part of the Millennium Development Goals, the world has set its sights on halting and beginning the reverse of tuberculosis incidence by 2015. With the work of the Global Fund and other important actors in this field, we are working hard to do just that.
For more information about tuberculosis and the Global Fund’s work to eliminate this disease, please visit “Global Fund and the Three Diseases” at www.TheGlobalFight.org.
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