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Every year, 24 March is commemorated the world over for the announcement of the discovery of the cause of tuberculosis (TB) by Robert Koch in 1882. Koch’s discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis paved the way for diagnosing and curing TB, yet, more than 130 years later, this ancient disease still takes a heavy toll on mankind—TB remains the leading cause of death from a single infectious agent and ranks ninth among the top 10 causes of death globally.1
WHO’s 2017 Global TB Report estimated 10.4 million incident cases of TB (of which 1 million were attributable to HIV), and 600 000 cases of multidrug-resistant (MDR) TB and rifampicin-resistant TB.1 TB also remains the leading killer of people with HIV, with 374 000 deaths in 2016. MDR TB represents a growing threat to global health and national security, claiming nearly 240 000 lives per year and representing a major component of estimated annual deaths due to antimicrobial resistance.2 Although 53 million lives have been saved through global efforts since 2000, there is no evidence of acceleration in the decline in TB incidence, mortality and suffering.
Currently, more than 40% of the estimated global TB burden goes undetected or unreported. Four out of five persons with MDR TB do not receive appropriate treatment. More than half of all people with TB and HIV are not reported to receive care and almost half of reported patients with TB are managed without an HIV test result.1 Inadequate patient-centred care and multiple hurdles faced by people with TB, including catastrophic …
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