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WHO study shows $39 return for each dollar invested in fight against TB

Relatively modest new investment could result in significant health and economic benefits, with up to $39 worth of benefits for each dollar invested, the UN agency said, announcing the findings of a study conducted in Brazil, Georgia, Kenya and South Africa.

The returns extend beyond monetary, encompassing substantial improvements in public health outcomes and the mitigation of TB’s devastating impact on individuals, families and communities.

“The investment case outlines the health and economic rationale for investing in evidence-based, WHO-recommended interventions on TB screening and prevention that can contribute to advancing universal health coverage,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

“Today, we have the knowledge, tools and political commitment that can end this millennia-old disease that remains one of the world’s top infectious killers.”

Crucial advocacy tool

While significant strides have been made to combat the disease, with an estimated 75 million lives saved since 2000, TB continues to cause about 1.3 million deaths annually and affects millions more worldwide.

Moreover, multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) is a growing public health concern, with only about two in five people having accessed treatment in 2022.

Progress in the development of new TB diagnostics, drugs and vaccines remains constrained by the overall level of investment in these areas, WHO said, adding that it is clear much more needs to be done to combat TB.

Against this background, its investment case is expected to serve as a vital advocacy tool for securing increased resources for TB screening and preventive treatment, aligning with the commitments made by governments at the 2023 High-Level Meeting on TB.

2024 World TB Day

As the global community prepares to World TB Day on 24 March under the theme Yes! We can end TB!, the message reiterates the importance of high-level leadership, increased investments and accelerated uptake of important recommendations, WHO said.

The next five years will be critical for ensuring that the political momentum we have now is translated into concrete actions towards reaching global TB targets,” said Tereza Kasaeva, Director of WHO’s Global Tuberculosis Programme.

“WHO will continue to provide global leadership for the TB response, working with all stakeholders until we reach and save every person, family and community impacted by this deadly disease”.

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