The World Health Organization, WHO has warned in a new report on Wednesday, that the novel coronavirus pandemic threatens to reverse progress towards eliminating tuberculosis, until now the top infectious disease killer globally.
According to WHO, the countries hit hard by tuberculosis such as India and South Africa, have seen resources usually allocated to diagnosing and treating TB diverted to fighting coronavirus.
The report estimated that TB could cause this year, between 200,000 and 400,000 more deaths than the 1.4 million last year, even though remedies exist.
In 2019, 44 percent of the cases were recorded in Southeast Asia, 25 percent in Africa, 18 percent in the western Pacific and 8.2 percent in the east Mediterranean.
But eight countries accounted for two-thirds of new cases including India, Indonesia, China, Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh and South Africa.
Andre Ndongosieme is the Acting Regional Adviser, WHO Africa Office.