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Tuberculosis Is Still A Major Health Threat In Africa

by Medindia Content Team on March 27, 2006 at 11:54 AM
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Tuberculosis Is Still A Major Health Threat In Africa

With 24th March celebrated as the world tuberculosis day. It was thought decades ago that the problem was the verge of being irradiated, but sadly it still remains a major threat and its toll still rising.

The WHO warned that the cases were still rising at almost 1% every year despite the efforts taken against it globally. Tuberculosis has killed about 1.7 million people globally in 2004 and infected nearly 9 million, according to the most recent World Health Organization data. This is attributed to probably due to the grip the disease has on Africa. They feel that here a lot of people suffering from HIV/AIDS, have already a weakened immune system hence more susceptible to TB.

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World Health Organization warns about weak health efforts in Africa, where HIV-AIDS outbreaks make TB very dangerous. According to Dr. Eyob Tadesse Negussie is an HIV/AIDS specialist who has done extensive research on tuberculosis, that of the many factors which contribute to the prevalence of TB in Africa, most important one being unemployment. He feels that unemployed youth spend their free time practicing activities that affect their health, like drugs and unsafe sex. He also feels that the uncontrolled population growth is responsible as it keeps exposing ever increasing masses to environmental and health hazards. He states that as long as the population grows they cannot be any improvement in the health and education system to even create awareness in the people. The researcher says long-term success depends on the "empowerment and active involvement of communities in TB and other health concerns affecting them.

According to Swiss info one third of the people with Aids also suffer from TB, with that itself killing almost half the population. Switzerland has always been one of the first countries on the global health scene. There are many international health funds, and The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria a UN-related financing organization is one of the biggest, which are actively seeking to help in this problem. Switzerland has by herself contributed initial $10 million (SFr13.1 million) contribution spread over three years towards the fund. At a conference in January, Bill Gates pledged to triple his foundation's funding for cutting TB deaths in half by 2015.
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There is scientific progress on treatments, testing and vaccines. But according to WHO activists who hope to try and eradicate TB, as it is trying to do with polio. But first the world has to maintain and expand its resources against a disease that can be treated but far from being effectively contained.

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