World TB Day 2023
Since 2000, 66 million lives have been saved through global efforts to eradicate tuberculosis. However, for the first time in over a decade, the number of new cases increased in 2021.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 10.6 million people contracted tuberculosis in 2021, up 4.5% from 2020. In 2021, 1.6 million people died of the disease. Drug resistance has risen by 3%, with 450,000 new cases of rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis (a widely used anti-tuberculosis antibiotic) recorded in 2021. Moreover, the 12 months of the Covid-19 health crisis also undermined 12 years of progress in the global tuberculosis response. Now is the time to take action to achieve the global objective of reducing tuberculosis deaths by 90% between 2015 and 2035.
L’Initiative supports actors involved in combating the pandemic by focusing on three areas: latent tuberculosis detection, active case detection and childhood tuberculosis. Between 2019 and 2022, L’Initiative supported 30 projects tackling tuberculosis at least in part, including 7 focusing exclusively on this infectious disease. While most of these projects are run by international NGOs, research institutes, universities and local NGOs are also involved. They are mainly implemented in the greater Sahel, South East Asia and East Africa.
Over the same period, L’Initiative financed 124 technical assistance missions that included at least one tuberculosis component in 35 countries, for a total allocated budget of 20.1 million euros. It has supported and strengthened the capacity of Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM), national programs and ministries to develop national strategic plans and to apply for funding during the Global Fund replenishment cycle.
Latent tuberculosis infection, which is asymptomatic, is estimated to affect up to one-third of the global population, and between 5% and 10% of those affected will develop an active form of tuberculosis during their lifetime. L’Initiative has financed a number of projects in Cambodia, Cameroon, Madagascar and Thailand to identify and treat patients with latent tuberculosis and reduce morbidity, mortality and transmission of the disease.
Another priority is to detect and treat more tuberculosis cases among vulnerable populations. Several projects are under way in Burundi, Ethiopia, Laos and Niger to develop community intervention strategies. Active case detection is now extremely urgent, officially-reported cases having fallen sharply since the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 2 million missing cases, especially among the most vulnerable populations.
Finally, another priority of L’Initiative is to ensure that childhood tuberculosis is diagnosed and treated. With over one million new cases each year, childhood tuberculosis is a major health concern. Young people under 15 years of age accounted for 11% of new tuberculosis cases and 16% of tuberculosis deaths in 2020. To this end, L’Initiative supports the TB_PEC@2.0 project in Cameroon. It aims to help reduce morbidity, mortality and gender inequalities among vulnerable and internally-displaced children in urban areas by improving access to prevention, diagnosis and treatment in 12 of the country's districts.
Meanwhile, L’Initiative is pursuing its commitment to operational research. After a call for projects dedicated to operational research on the prevention, detection and treatment of tuberculosis in 2018, L’Initiative launched a call for projects on "The fight against tuberculosis : responding to the needs of vulnerable populations and implicating them in the response" in 2021. This second call for projects on tuberculosis underlines our commitment to help accelerate the drive towards potentially eradicating this disease.