The World Health Organisation has said more than 500,000 people are lost in Africa to tuberculosis yearly.
The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, who gave the figure on Wednesday in a message to mark World Tuberculosis Day, said the statistics were “inexcusable.”
He lamented that across Africa, the challenges in TB prevention and control were significant with only 56 per cent of people with TB on treatment, while it continues to be drastically underfunded.
He further decried that the COVID-19 pandemic compounded difficulties in accessing TB services.
“For instance, in South Africa, monthly notifications of new TB cases fell by more than 50 per cent between March and June 2020. In some countries, TB staff and testing equipment were reallocated to COVID-19 responses,” he said.
He said collective action across sectors was crucial to address the challenges and accelerate progress towards ending TB by 2030.
He lamented that there were an estimated 2.5 million TB cases in the African Region in 2019, accounting for 25 per cent of the global burden.