drug resistant tuberculosis
Never bring a knife to a gunfight. And yet, the global tuberculosis (TB) community has been doing precisely that for decades -- fighting a protracted battle with antiquated, inefficient tools, including an insensitive diagnostic (i.e. sputum microscopy), a low-efficacy vaccine (i.e. BCG), and drug regimens that have hardly changed for decades.
"I was certain that I was going to die," said 25-year-old Ifrah in Somaliland, of her battle with tuberculosis. It's not something we should be hearing in 2017. An illness old enough to have been known as 'consumption' or 'The White Plague' should have its place in medical history -- not claiming 1.8 million lives a year.
India continues to bear the brunt of the TB epidemic, with 2.8 of the 10.4 million new TB cases that occurred in 2015. TB is also a major killer of Indian people. The latest Global Burden of Disease estimates from Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, published earlier this month, show TB to be the sixth leading cause of deaths in India.
According to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, AIDS-related deaths have dropped by 45 per cent, malaria death rates are down by 60 per cent and tuberculosis mortality has diminished by 47 per cent. These are exciting achievements, but not nearly as exciting as the possibility of ending those diseases for good.