This week, the United Nations will host two days (May 8-9) of preliminary talks to plan a larger conference on tuberculosis (TB) in September. These preliminary talks will be held in New York City, the epicenter of the last significant surge of TB cases in the United States (U.S.) thirty years ago.
The news in many parts of the world is that tuberculosis (TB) is reclaiming the title of the world’s most deadly infection, even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to kill an estimated 1,450 people daily
around the world. But this is not news to African countries, which are home to one third of the people
globally who die from TB, even though they have less than one fifth of the world’s population.
As countries around the world—from Kenya to Canada, South Africa to Sweden—relish the prospect of an unofficial transition of COVID-19 from pandemic to endemic and start to ease pandemic-related restrictions, many of us in the tuberculosis (TB) community find it hard to relate. In TB, we know what can happen when a pandemic becomes an accepted fact.
Before COVID-19 came along, tuberculosis (TB) was a primary focus of health authorities in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2019, approximately 1.4 million people
were diagnosed with TB in the region, but epidemiologists estimated that 1 million more had TB but were neither diagnosed nor treated.