WHO Global Tuberculosis Report 2023
In 2022, there was a significant global recovery in the number of people diagnosed with Tuberculosis (TB) and treated, following two years of COVID-related disruptions. The recently released WHO Global TB Report sheds light on this progress, highlighting both improvements and ongoing challenges in the fight against TB.
TB Remains a Persistent Global Threat
Despite the recent recovery, TB continues to pose a significant global health threat. It remains the world’s second leading cause of death from a single infectious agent. Furthermore, global TB targets have either been missed or are off track. The report indicates that from 2015 to 2022, there was only an 8.7% reduction in TB cases, far from the WHO End TB Strategy goal of a 50% reduction by 2025.
Surge in TB Diagnoses in 2022
The reported global number of people newly diagnosed with TB in 2022 reached 7.5 million, marking the highest number since WHO began global TB monitoring in 1995. This figure exceeded the pre-COVID baseline and the previous historical peak of 7.1 million in 2019. It also represented a significant increase from 5.8 million in 2020 and 6.4 million in 2021. This surge is likely due to a backlog of people who developed TB in previous years but faced delays in diagnosis and treatment due to COVID-related disruptions.
Impact of COVID-19 Disruptions
COVID-related disruptions had a profound impact on TB diagnosis and treatment. India, Indonesia, and the Philippines, which collectively accounted for nearly 60% of the reduction in TB cases in 2020 and 2021, saw a recovery to above 2019 levels in 2022. TB caused an estimated 1.30 million deaths in 2022, nearly returning to the level seen in 2019. Tragically, COVID-related disruptions are estimated to have resulted in almost half a million excess TB deaths in the three years from 2020 to 2022.
Improved Treatment Success Rates
One positive aspect highlighted in the report is the improvement in treatment success rates. For individuals treated for drug-susceptible TB, the success rate reached 88%, while for those with multidrug-resistant/rifampicin-resistant TB (MDR/RR-TB), the success rate stood at 63%. These improved success rates demonstrate progress in managing TB cases.
The Call to Action
To end the global TB epidemic, the report emphasizes the need to translate commitments made at the 2023 UN high-level meeting on TB into action. This involves implementing strategies to address the lingering challenges posed by TB and the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Category: Reports & Indexes Current Affairs