A non-governmental organisation, Stop TB Partnership, has projected an additional 6.3 million cases of tuberculosis between 2020 and 2025 and 1.4 million more TB deaths during the same period as a result of global COVID-19 lockdowns.
According to a statement by the group, a report released on Wednesday found that the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic was having unintended drastic consequences on tuberculosis services.
It stated that lockdowns and limitations on diagnosis, treatment, and prevention services were expected to increase the annual number of TB cases and deaths over the next five years such that “at least five years of progress on TB response will be lost.”
The Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership, Dr Lucica Ditiu, was quoted as saying, “We never learn from mistakes. For the past five years, TB, a respiratory disease, has remained the biggest infectious disease killer because the ‘TB agenda’ consistently became less visible in front of other priorities.
It added that, to ensure access to TB and COVID-19 resources, the Stop TB Partnership was sharing actions, experiences and recommendations from countries and partners through a dedicated TB and COVID-19 webpage and had recently published interactive maps with TB and COVID-19 situations in countries.