Lifestyle & Belief

Tuberculosis threat needs more funding, UN warns


UN agencies said Monday that tuberculosis funding needed a massive boost. The disease kills about 1.4 million people each year.


Paula Bronstein

United Nations agencies warned Monday that the fight against tuberculosis needs a large funding boost to stave off the disease's spread.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS and Malaria said that an extra $1.6 billion was needed to fight the disease that ravages poorer nations.

The warning comes just a week before World Tuberculosis Day and amidst worries that a drug-resistant form of the disease is spreading, said Pakistan Today.

AFP reported that WHO director-general Magaret Chan said that now was the time to increase the response to the bacterial infection.

"We are treading water at a time when we desperately need to scale up our response," she said.

Drug-resistant tuberculosis accounts for about four percent of new cases.

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"One needs to be a bit cautious about calling it totally drug resistant—at this point, with the current tests we have, it's not possible to define that," said Karin Weyer, of the WHO's Stop TB department, reported US News and World Report.

"It still shows we have to cure these patients the first time around—every time they get treated again, you run the risk of amplifying the resistance."

Tuberculosis kills about 1.4 million people each year.

It is the second most deadly global disease after AIDS, reported AFP, a disease with which tuberculosis often goes together with.