More millions for the fight against tuberculosis

In view of the coronavirus crisis, Germany is providing an additional 140 million euros for the fight against tuberculosis.

Weitere Millionen für Kampf gegen Tuberkulose
dpa

Berlin (dpa) - In view of the coronavirus crisis, Germany is providing an additional 140 million euros for the fight against tuberculosis. "Almost two thirds of tuberculosis programmes have been suspended, which could lead to 400,000 additional deaths worldwide," Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller (CSU) told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung on the occasion of World Tuberculosis Day on Wednesday. "Germany is therefore stepping up its commitment to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and is providing an additional 140 million euros this year to maintain health programmes."

Müller pointed out that the coronavirus crisis is leading to major setbacks in the eradication of tuberculosis, with medical personnel and drugs no longer available. "Every 22 seconds, a person dies of tuberculosis, 95 percent of them in developing countries and emerging economies. We can and must avoid this, because the lung disease can be cured with the help of antibiotics," said the CSU politician.

The money from the fund, he said, will help 100 developing countries and emerging economies, for example by providing tuberculosis tests, counselling for those affected and protective material for health personnel. In parts of southern Africa, every second person infected with HIV is also infected with tuberculosis.

On Tuesday, the World Health Organization had already stated that medical care for tuberculosis patients had suffered dramatically during the coronavirus crisis. In 2020, an estimated 1.4 million fewer people were treated for tuberculosis than in the previous year. In addition, more than 500,000 people may have died of tuberculosis because their disease was not caught early.

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