Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Global Aid Fund: Hundred Thousands to Be TB Victims due to Covid-19   

Wed 08 Sep 2021 | 03:16 PM
Ahmed Moamar

A global aid fund said that hundred of thousands of patients will die of Tuberculosis (TB) because they do not receive suitable treatment, as the health care system in the poorest countries is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Peter Sands, executive director of the Geneva-based Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria, said the excess deaths from HIV and TB could exceed those from the coronavirus.

Sands added that the number of people being treated for Tuberculosis in 2020 has decreased by about a million compared to 2019, and there are fears that this will inevitably mean hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Sands said medical services were affected by the COVID-19 closures, as clinics and medical staff, usually used to fight Tuberculosis, were dedicated to fighting COVID-19 in countries such as India and across Africa.

He pointed that he expects more damage this year due to the spread of the "Delta" strain of Corona.

Although the exact death toll is not yet known, Sands said the rising death toll from a relapse in the fight against diseases such as Tuberculosis or AIDS is higher than the deaths from COVID-19 itself in some poor countries, such as parts of the Sahel region in Africa.

The fund’s annual report for 2020, issued today, Wednesday, showed that the number of people receiving treatment for tuberculosis in the countries where the fund operates decreased by 19 %.

AIDS prevention programs and services also recorded a decrease of 11 %.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria is an alliance of governments, companies, civil society groups, and the private sector that invests more than $4 billion annually to combat the three diseases. The United States is a major donor to the fund.

The Fund stated that malaria is an exception to this trend in 2020, as prevention activities remained the same, or increased, compared to 2019.