Three Bangladeshi experts have reportedly accused Britain of "covering up" the G8's failure to reduce tuberculosis death toll in south Asia.
The Guardian quoted the experts as saying that Britain's strategy against the disease was aimed at preventing its spread to the west, rather than tackling the living conditions in deprived communities where TB is endemic.
Bruce Currey, Professor Quazi Quamruzzaman and Professor Mahmuder Rahman, all based at the Dhaka Community Hospital in Bangladesh, accused the UK's Department for International Development of hiding the deaths of nearly half a million people.
The Department for International Development's (DfID) factsheet on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, issued in December 2008, claims that in Southern Asia, "progress in halting and reversing the spread of tuberculosis" is "almost met, or on target". It described mortality as moderate.
"The Crown's term 'moderate mortality' covers up an annual tuberculosis death toll, estimated by WHO, of almost half a million people (460,003), mostly poor, in south Asia," the paper quoted Currey and colleagues, as saying.
The three experts praise the UK's leadership at the G8 meeting in Okinawa in 2000, which pledged to "Reduce TB deaths and prevalence of the disease by 50 percent by 2010", but added that the commitment has not maintained.
"It is now 2010, the deadline for the G8 millennial commitment. The latest WHO report (2009) suggests that the G8 target of reducing tuberculosis deaths by 50 percent has resulted in only an 11 percent reduction "neither 'almost met' nor 'on target'," they added. .
They finally concluded that it is time to rethink, because the treatment-driven programmes are not succeeding in halting and reversing TB.