Connect with us


Global Fund Calls for Renewed Urgency in Fight to End TB – World – ReliefWeb



GENEVA – On World TB Day, 24 March, the Global Fund is urgently calling for the world to reignite the fight to end tuberculosis (TB) by 2030. The COVID-19 pandemic has upended years of progress in the fight against TB. Deaths from the disease rose for the first time in more than a decade, fueled by a surge in undiagnosed and untreated cases.

“If we fail to step up the fight against TB, we must accept that we are effectively abandoning the 2030 goal to end the disease as a public health threat,” said Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “We must mount a massive effort to diagnose people quickly and get them the necessary treatment. TB is deadly and is the top infectious disease killer after COVID-19.”

TB programs helped the COVID-19 response

In many countries, COVID-19 overwhelmed health systems, lockdowns disrupted service provision, and critical resources were diverted from the fight against HIV, TB and malaria to fight the new pandemic.

But decades of effort fighting TB were not in vain. With the additional resources deployed [ download in English | Français ] countries leveraged some of the best assets in the fight against TB to combat COVID-19. Community health workers, laboratories, diagnostic equipment, disease surveillance systems and other TB investments put in place over the years gave countries a leg up in the fight against the new pandemic.

The Global Fund partnership has also supported the roll-out of bidirectional testing, where people are simultaneously screened and tested for TB and COVID-19. In the future, it is likely this approach will be expanded to other diseases.

“Community health workers are on the front line of detecting and treating diseases, whether that’s for COVID-19 or TB, HIV or malaria,” said Dr. Eliud Wandwalo, the Global Fund’s head of tuberculosis programs. “They are trusted members of the community and we have seen their critical role during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Drug-resistant TB

In most cases, TB is treatable and curable. However, standard TB treatment requires up to six months of drugs that can cause nausea, vomiting and stomach pain. The duration and side effects drive some people to abandon their treatment, which in some cases can lead to drug resistance – when TB bacteria is resistant to at least one of the main TB drugs.

Drug-resistant TB is part of the growing challenge of antimicrobial-resistant superbugs that do not respond to existing medications, resulting in fewer treatment options and increasing death rates for illnesses that would ordinarily be curable – including TB. Drug-resistant TB now accounts for one-third of the world’s deaths from antimicrobial resistance.

Because of stretched resources during the COVID-19 pandemic, between 2019 and 2020, the number of people treated for drug-resistant TB in the countries where the Global Fund invests dropped by a staggering 19%; those on treatment for extensively drug-resistant TB registered an even bigger drop of 37%; and the number of HIV-positive TB patients on antiretroviral treatment as well as TB treatment dropped by 16%. Overall, around 1 million fewer people with TB were treated in 2020, in countries where the Global Fund invests, compared with 2019.

The Global Fund is the largest external source of financing for drug-resistant TB in low- and middle-income countries, working with partners to support the introduction of new drugs that provide better and faster treatment. The amount of funding for drug-resistant TB available through the Global Fund has more than tripled over the last six years.

Rapid response to TB in Ukraine

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2020, 30 countries accounted for 86% of new TB cases around the world. Eight countries account for two-thirds of the total, with India leading the count, followed by China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh and South Africa.

In the European region, Ukraine is one of the countries with a high prevalence of TB. The disease re-emerged as a public health challenge in the 1990s. According to WHO, while new cases have significantly decreased over the last 15 years, TB prevalence, as well as TB deaths, remain high in the country. Drug-resistant TB also remains a public health threat in Ukraine. Over the last two decades, the Global Fund has invested more than US$850 million in Ukraine for HIV and TB testing, prevention and treatment programs and to fight COVID-19.

“We are extremely concerned for the health of people on HIV and TB treatment in Ukraine who are fleeing conflict in very stressful situations,” said Sands. “The Global Fund is fast-tracking US$15 million in emergency funds and working with partners in Ukraine and some of the nearby countries to ensure patients in their programs continue to get the treatment and support they need to be healthy.”

The Global Fund Replenishment campaign

Last month, the Global Fund launched its Seventh Replenishment campaign, aiming to raise at least US$18 billion to fight TB, HIV and malaria, build stronger systems for health and reinforce pandemic preparedness. In the countries where the Global Fund invests, the largest increase in projected funding needs is for TB care.

The Global Fund is the leading international funder of TB programs – providing 77% of all international financing for the disease. From January 2021, the Global Fund has increased TB grants by 24% on average, and the partnership is committed to deploying more than US$2 billion to fight the disease over the next three years.

To get the world back on track toward ending TB as a public health threat by 2030, urgent efforts are needed to prevent and treat TB, including a renewed focus on finding “missing” people with TB and successfully treating them.

Adblock test (Why?)

Source link

Continue Reading


Monkeypox: Cases found and suspected in Portugal, Spain – CTV News




Portuguese authorities said on Wednesday they had identified five cases of rare monkeypox infection and Spain’s health services are testing eight potential cases after Britain put Europe on alert for the virus.

The five Portuguese patients, out of 20 suspected cases, are all stable. They are all men and they all live in the region of Lisbon and the Tagus Valley, the Portuguese health authorities said.

European Health authorities are monitoring any outbreak of the disease since Britain has reported its first case of monkeypox on May 7 and found six more in the country since then. 

None of the eight suspected cases in Spain has been confirmed yet, the Spanish Health Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection similar to human smallpox, though milder, first recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1970s. The number of cases in West Africa has increased in the last decade.

Symptoms include fever, headaches and skin rashes starting on the face and spreading to the rest of the body.

It is not particularly infectious between people, Spanish health authorities said, and most people infected recover within a few weeks, though severe cases have been reported.

Four of the cases detected in Britain self-identified as gay, bi-sexual or other men who have sex with men, the U.K. Health Security Agency said, adding evidence suggested there may be a transmission in the community.

The agency in Britain urged men who are gay and bisexual to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and to contact a sexual health service without delay.

The Spanish Health Ministry and Portugal’s DGS health authority Spanish did not release any information on the sexual orientation of the monkeypox patients or suspected patients.

The two countries sent out alerts to health professionals in order to identify more possible cases.

(Reporting by Patricia Rua in Lisbon and Christina Thykjaer in Madrid; Editing by Inti Landauro and Alison Williams)

Adblock test (Why?)

Source link

Continue Reading


Long Covid Patients' Symptoms Helped After Vaccination in Study – BNN



(Bloomberg) — Fewer Covid-19 patients reported lingering symptoms from the infection after getting vaccinated, according to a study that suggests the shots could help alleviate the burden of long Covid. 

A first vaccine dose after infection with the virus was associated with a 13% decline in the odds of having long Covid and a second shot with a 9% drop in the study published Thursday in the BMJ. Over the course of seven months in 2021, researchers regularly visited the households of more than 28,000 people to ask whether they were experiencing symptoms long after infection.

The findings, together with evidence that long Covid is reduced in those infected after vaccination, suggest that jabs may help decrease the prevalence of persisting symptoms.

“The large scale of this study means that we can be fairly confident about what has been observed, but it does not mean we can be sure what it means,” said Peter English, a former chair of the BMA Public Health Medicine Committee. 

“The most obvious — and perhaps the most likely inference — is that vaccination does prevent at least some cases of long Covid, and may reduce the severity of symptoms,” he said in emailed comments. But “we cannot yet say this with any confidence.” English wasn’t involved in the research. 

An estimated 1.8 million people in the UK had reported experiencing long Covid as of April 2022, with two in three people saying the symptoms had affected their day-to-day activities, according to the latest Office for National Statistics data.

The scientists who ran the study called for more research to “understand the biological mechanisms underpinning any improvements in symptoms after vaccination, which may contribute to the development of therapeutics for long Covid.” 

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

Adblock test (Why?)

Source link

Continue Reading


Europe, US on alert after new monkeypox cases emerge – Al Jazeera English



US, Spain and Portugal announce cases of rare viral infection, two weeks after UK identified its first case.

Health authorities are on alert for the spread of monkeypox, a rare viral disease first reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1970s, after new cases emerged in Europe, and the United States confirmed its first infection.

Portugal said on Wednesday it had identified five cases of monkeypox, Spain said it was testing 23 potential cases, and the US state of Massachusetts announced it had found a case in a man who recently travelled to Canada.

The United Kingdom was the first to confirm a case of monkeypox earlier this month. It has now detected seven cases and is working with the World Health Organization (WHO) to investigate the virus’s spread after being unable to make a link between the initial case, in a man who had travelled from Nigeria, and the more recent ones.

Health authorities suspect some of the infections may have occurred through sexual contact – in this instance among gay or bisexual men – with four of the UK cases identified among people who visited sexual health clinics after developing the rash associated with monkeypox.

“No source of infection has yet been confirmed for either the family or GBMSM clusters,” the WHO said in a statement in Wednesday. “Based on currently available information, infection seems to have been locally acquired in the United Kingdom. The extent of local transmission is unclear at this stage and there is the possibility of identification of further cases.”

Monkeypox, which is similar to human smallpox, typically begins with a flu-like illness and swelling of the lymph nodes, followed by a rash on the face and body. Most people recover from the illness, which is endemic in parts of central and western Africa and usually the result of close contact with infected animals, within a few weeks, but it can be fatal.

The five Portuguese patients, out of 20 suspected cases, are all in a stable condition, according to the country’s health authorities. They are all men who live in the region of Lisbon and the Tagus Valley, they added.

Health authorities in Madrid said the cases discovered in Spain appeared to be linked to sexual contact.

“In general, its transmission is via respiratory drops but the characteristics of the 23 suspected infections point to it being passed on through bodily fluids during sex relations,” they said in a statement, without giving further details.

“All of them are young adult males and most of them are men who have sexual relations with other men, but not all of them,” Elena Andradas, head of public health in the Madrid region, told Cadena Ser radio.

US health officials said the Massachusetts man who developed monkeypox went to Canada to see friends at the end of April and returned home in early May. He is currently being treated in hospital.

Jennifer McQuiston from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said while it was the only case the CDC was aware of, “I do think we are preparing for the possibility of more cases”.

The agency is in contact with its counterparts in the UK and Canada as part of the investigation, but McQuiston said no link had been established so far.

There are two types of monkeypox virus: the West African clade and Congo Basin (Central African) clade. The case-fatality ratio for the West African clade has been documented to be about 1 percent, and up to 10 percent for patients with the Congo Basin clade.

The WHO said that while smallpox vaccination has been effective against monkeypox, the end of mass vaccination programmes for smallpox meant people under the age of 40 or 50 no longer had that protection.

The UK has previously reported cases of monkeypox – all linked to travel to Nigeria – as has the US. An outbreak there in 2003 was traced to pet prairie dogs that had been housed with small animals imported from Ghana that were found to have the virus.

Adblock test (Why?)

Source link

Continue Reading