While there has been a reduction in Tuberculosis (TB) diagnoses in 2020 and 2021, this apparent decline does not signify a shrinking TB problem as mentioned in the recent report of the World Health Organization. Instead, it points to a concerning issue – a growing population of undiagnosed and untreated individuals, leading to an alarming rise in TB-related death.
Among the estimated 10.6 million people affected by TB annually, a staggering 4.2 million are left unaccounted for by healthcare systems. This means they do not receive both diagnosis and essential care.
Fortunately, there is part of a solution at hand. By ensuring equitable access to non-sputum-based diagnostic tests in TB-affected regions, there is an opportunity to prevent countless cases from remaining untreated.
To make this vision a reality, it’s imperative that Canada actively participates in the United Nations High-Level Meeting on TB. Furthermore, if Canada commits an impactful 0.15 per cent of its annual research and development budget to the creation and dissemination of new tools for TB prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. This investment has the potential to transform the lives of millions affected by this deadly infectious disease, bringing us one step closer to a TB-free world.
Peace Mukazi, Kanata, Ont.