CARIBBEAN-PAHO urges the region to accelerate action toward ending tuberculosis


WASHINGTON, CMC – The Pan American Health Organization (FRIDAY) called on countries in the region to urgently expand access to prevention, detection, and treatment services to accelerate progress toward ending tuberculosis (TB), one of the primarily deadly infectious diseases in the world.

In a message marking World Tuberculosis Day, PAHO said. At the same time, TB is curable with access to testing and treatment. In the Americas, 850 people become ill with the disease, and around 90 lose their lives daily.

“Despite the availability of innovations for TB, including rapid tests and shorter oral treatments for drug-resistant strains and TB preventive treatment, many people, particularly the most vulnerable, continue to miss out,” said Dr. Ruben Mayorga Sagastume, Chief of HIV, Hepatitis, Tuberculosis, and Sexually Transmitted Infections Unit at PAHO.

As part of the World Tuberculosis Day commemoration, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced the expanded scope of the flagship initiative on tuberculosis, which supports fast-tracking progress toward ending TB and achieving Universal Health Coverage by 2030.

As part of this initiative, PAHO and WHO are urging countries to accelerate the rapid roll-out of the BPaLM/BPaL (bedaquiline, pretomanid, linezolid, and moxifloxacin) medicine regimen for drug-resistant TB treatment, which has the potential to significantly increase cure rates due to its effectiveness, lower cost and improved impact on patient’s quality of life as it is an all-oral treatment that is considerably shorter than traditional regimens.

PAHO is also calling on countries to strengthen the diagnosis of drug-resistant TB to ensure timely and effective treatment by accelerating the implementation of WHO-recommended rapid molecular tests.

“It is our collective responsibility to put an end to this preventable and curable disease, and there are “quick wins” that countries can adopt to accelerate this,” said Mayorga Sagastume, adding, “with the upcoming UN High-Level Meeting on TB, this year, 2023 is a key opportunity to mobilize the political and social commitment required to end this scourge on our region once and for all”.

The UN High-Level Meeting on TB will bring together heads of state and other world leaders in September to discuss ‘Advancing science, finance, and innovation, and their benefits to urgently end the global tuberculosis epidemic, in particular, by ensuring equitable access to prevention, testing, treatment, and care.”

TB is an infectious bacterial disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, most commonly affecting the lungs. It is transmitted from person to person through the air.

The symptoms of active TB include cough, chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever, and night sweats. In healthy people, infection often does not cause symptoms because the person’s immune system acts to wall off the bacteria.

World TB Day is commemorated annually on March 24 to raise awareness of TB’s devastating health, social and economic consequences and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic.


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