Urgently needed: $1.6 billion per year to tackle drug-resistant tuberculosis
The announcement comes in advance of World TB Day on March 24, which commemorates Dr. Robert Koch's 1882 discovery of the bacteria that causes tuberculosis -- a major killer in the early 20th century (remember "consumption"?) that became curable with the discovery of antibiotics.
Médecins Sans Frontières has a slick graphic illustrating the scope of the TB crisis:
The WHO estimates there are about 630,000 people worldwide currently suffering from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis -- and the problem will only spread further if action isn't taken.
Says Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the WHO, in a press release:
“We are treading water at a time when we desperately need to scale up our response to MDR-TB. We have gained a lot of ground in TB control through international collaboration, but it can easily be lost if we do not act now.”
So what is it like to have drug-resistant TB? You can find out at TB & Me, an MSF website where patients around the world are blogging their personal stories about living with the disease.
Jennifer Yang is the Toronto Star’s global health reporter. She previously worked as a general assignment reporter and won a NNA in 2011 for her explanatory piece on the Chilean mining disaster. Follow her on Twitter: @jyangstar