Trade, foreign policy, diplomacy and health

3. Tuberculosis control

Jim Yong Kim, Aaron Shakow, Arachu Castro, Chris Vande, Paul Farmer


The burden of tuberculosis: Social burden

  • 95% of the 8 million new cases of TB, and 98% of deaths from TB, worldwide are in developing countries
  • In these regions, disease and death from TB occur mostly in the economically active segment of the population
  • TB kills more women annually than all the causes of maternal mortality combined

A century ago TB ravaged affluent and poor countries alike; today, rates of TB have become telling indicators of a society's wealth or poverty. At present, 95% of the 8 million new cases of TB, and 98% of deaths from TB, worldwide are in developing countries. In these regions, disease and death from TB occurs most often in the most economically active segment of the population; among the 1.5-2 million people dying annually from TB every year, 75% are between the ages of 15 and 54, with TB accounting for almost one-fifth of all deaths in this age group.

TB kills more women annually than all the causes of maternal mortality combined. Worldwide, some 900 million women of reproductive age are infected with TB, and at least 2.5 million every year develop active TB. Among women aged 15 to 44 years, TB accounts for the annual loss of an estimated 8.7 million years of life. Gender inequality also plays an obvious role. While men are more likely to have latent infection with M. tuberculosis, women are more likely to progress from infection to active disease, and poor women are less likely to receive diagnostic and treatment services.

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