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South Africa: TAC – TB Neglected

Resource type: News

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The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) says Tuberculosis (TB) is underfunded and progress action against the epidemic is slow. TB has been one of the most important causes of premature death in South Africa, made worse by the HIV pandemic.

Southern Africa and Eastern Europe also face the growth of drug-resistant TB epidemic. According to the TAC, TB affects poor people making it less attractive for companies to spend money on developing on new drugs, diagnostics or vaccines.

The TAC also said TB received scant media coverage, perhaps because it was perceived as boring. “But the evolving science of TB is fascinating and the human stories of those suffering and coping with the disease are heart-wrenching,” wrote TAC in a media statement.

The TAC welcomed the announcement by Government that it would support the rollout of the Gene Xpert, which could diagnose the most prevalent forms of drug-resistant TB in two hours, it caution that there were many other interventions also available to curb the epidemic.

In particularly identified the rollout of a drug with the research name TMC207, which has been shown to reduce the treatment time for patients with drug-resistant TB.

“If over the next ten years we respond to TB with the same intensity and investment that has been given to HIV, we can turn this massive global epidemic into a much smaller more manageable problem,” wrote TAC.

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Treatment Action Campaign is an Atlantic grantee.

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