Over 1m people living with tuberculosis in Africa undetected – WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) says over one million people living with tuberculosis in Africa are undetected.

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, made this disclosure in her message to commemorate World Tuberculosis Day.

“In the African region, only 26% of all people living with multi-drug resistance are receiving the appropriate treatment,” she stressed.

Moeti added that the use of rapid diagnostic testing has increased from 34% in 2020 to 43% in 2021, which will improve countries’ ability to detect and diagnose new cases of the disease.

“It is particularly important to find and diagnose cases of TB so that the patients can be treated, and their contacts offered preventive medication.

“The WHO in the African Region is now on the threshold of reaching a 35% TB death reduction, there has been a 26% reduction in TB deaths between 2015 and 2021,” she said.

She stressed that notable gap between the estimated number of new infections and case notifications of TB.

According to WHO, 20% of people newly diagnosed with TB are also living with HIV infection.

Dr. Moeti stated that through its technical support, leading advocacy, and effective partnerships, enormous progress has been made over the past decade, especially in the East and Southern African Regions.

“High-burden countries, like Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia have surpassed or reached the 20% target of reducing new TB cases,” she said.

She urge leaders, governments, partners, communities, and all stakeholders to urgently foster the resilient health systems required to accelerate the TB response so that they can reach the Sustainable Development Goals targets by 2030.