For Immediate Release
Washington, DC - Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), released the following statement on the occasion of World Tuberculosis Day.
"Today, March 24, the world commemorates World Tuberculosis (TB) Day by celebrating the tremendous progress that has been made in combatting this disease. Milestones include a 35 percent decline in mortality since 1990, a 14 percent decrease in the prevalence of TB between 1990 and 2009, and the emergence of new diagnostic technologies that can detect multi-drug resistant TB.
But, despite this progress, TB continues as a major public health threat that disproportionally strikes people living in poor, urban settings. In a world that is urbanizing at a rate of 200,000 people every day, we must be aggressive and innovative in fighting TB. Large numbers of TB cases go undetected and untreated, fueling new cases and deaths. The frightening growth of drug-resistant strains of TB-including strains we simply cannot yet treat-adds to the urgency of combatting this disease.
The U.S. is making major investments to prevent and control TB in countries around the world where the burden of the disease is highest. But we will not meet our target to halve TB prevalence and deaths by 2015 unless we dramatically reduce the length of treatment regimens and invest in new research and technologies.
Current diagnostics require specialized lab facilities, trained personnel and weeks to deliver results. And they frequently yield false positives. We must improve TB detection by investing in rapid, accurate diagnostics that can identify the presence of tuberculosis and its resistance to antibiotics.
USAID is strengthening country-level efforts to scale up and provide diagnostic and treatment services. But we need to expand the involvement of the private sector, integrate TB and HIV care, and encourage treatment of TB at the community level.
We will contribute to the treatment of 2.6 million TB patients, 57,200 multi-drug resistant cases, and contribute to a 50 percent reduction in TB deaths and disease burden relative to the 1990 baseline.
Please join me on World TB Day in celebrating our progress and recommitting ourselves to strive for continued breakthroughs that can improve global health."
For more information about USAID's programs, please visit: www.usaid.gov.
Last updated: March 07, 2014