Pandemic causes deaths from tuberculosis and AIDS in poor countries

Credit: Rovena Rosa/Agência Brasil

Interruption in health care because of the pandemic can kill for tuberculosis and AIDS (Credit: Rovena Rosa/Agência Brasil)

GENEVA (Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of people will die from untreated tuberculosis as a result of disruptions to public health systems in poor countries caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, announced a global humanitarian aid fund.

In some of the world’s poorest countries, excessive deaths from AIDS and tuberculosis may even exceed those from the coronavirus itself, according to the director of the Global Fund, based in Geneva.

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The fund’s annual report for 2020, published on Tuesday, shows that the number of people treated for drug-resistant tuberculosis in countries where the organization operates has fallen by 19%. An 11% drop was reported in HIV prevention programs and services.

“Essentially, about 1 million people received less TB treatment in 2020 than in 2019, and I fear that will inevitably mean that hundreds of thousands of people will die,” executive director Peter Sands told Reuters .

Although the precise numbers of deaths are not yet known, Sands said that in some poor countries, such as parts of the Sahel region of Africa, excessive deaths caused by setbacks in the fight against diseases such as tuberculosis and AIDS could be even greater than that. than those caused by Covid-19 itself.

Headquartered in Geneva, the Global Fund is an alliance of governments, civil society, and private sector partners that invests more than $4 billion a year to fight tuberculosis, malaria and AIDS. The United States is the fund’s main donor.

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