China is not doing enough to fight tuberculosis in the country and should not rely on initial success in controlling the disease, Chinese Health Minister Chen Zhu recently told state media,Reuters reports.
Chen said that although the country's TB-control program has been acknowledged by the global health community for its achievements, it is necessary to 'recognize that the epidemic has not substantially improved.' He said that fighting TB brings about 'new challenges and opportunities' and that China should not be 'sluggish' in efforts to prevent the disease.
'The pressure on prevention work is enormous,' he added. Chen called on the government to improve training for health workers, expand TB surveillance and maximize investment in TB prevention.
According to a recent World Bank report, China is one of the countries worst affected by TB in Asia. Cases of multi-drug resistant TB and extensively drug-resistant TB, which is resistant to the two most potent first-line drugs and some of the available second-line drugs, also are increasing in the country.
The World Health Organization estimates that more than 200,000 people in China died of TB in 2004.
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation