The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 accords a high priority to combating TB by reducing its prevalence and ending the epidemic by 2030. It’s part of the cause of lower respiratory tract deaths, at 11% of all African’s deaths, it’s second, and close to, HIV/AIDS deaths as Africa’s top killer. TB’s global death rate’s rising, and Nigeria and South Africa are in the group of six countries accounting for 60% of deaths.
WHO has issued a new TB facts sheet. In 2014, 9.6 million people fell ill with TB and 1.5 million died from the disease. Over 95% of TB deaths are in Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMIC). It’s in the top five causes of death for women aged 15 to 44. In 2014, an estimated 1 million children were ill with TB, of which, 140 000 died.
Other facts from WHO are:
- TB is one of the top ten causes of death globally
- In 2015, 10.4 million people fell ill with TB and 1.8 million died from it, including 0.4 million people with HIV
- Over 95% of TB deaths are in low- and middle-income countries.
- Six countries account for 60% of the total, with India top followed by Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa
- In 2015, about one million children became ill with TB and 170,000 children died of TB, excluding children with HIV
- TB’s a leading killer of HIV-positive people, with 35% of HIV deaths in 2015 due to TB
- Globally, some 480,000 people developed multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) in 2015
- TB incidence has fallen by an average of 1.5% a year since 2000, but needs to accelerate to a 4% annual decline to achieve WHO’s End TB Strategy 2020 target
- About 49 million lives were saved through TB diagnosis and treatment between 2000 and 2015.
WHO has a three part strategy:
- Integrated patient-centred care and prevention
- Bold policies and supportive systems
- Intensified research and innovation.
eHealth can support each of these. It’s worth African health systems reviewing their eHealth strategies, plans and programmes to be sure that sufficient resources and innovation are included to address their TB epidemics. With appropriate interoperability and architecture, patient-centred eHealth for TB and also provide low cost data needed for research and innovation, leading to shorter timescales to find better solutions.