CPV: The US joined Vietnam and other countries on World Tuberculosis Day, March 24, to call attention to the disease and to mobilize action to combat it.
Tuberculosis is second only to HIV among infectious killers worldwide. Tuberculosis is spread through the air, making entire populations susceptible to it, including many poor and highly vulnerable groups. The majority of TB cases and deaths occur in developing countries. TB is the third leading cause of death worldwide among women aged 15-44.
TB often strikes people during their most economically productive years. TB not only takes an enormous personal toll, it also places a tremendous economic burden on families, communities, and countries. The treatment is six months long and sometimes people have to travel far to get their diagnosis and drugs. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Vietnam is ranked 12th of 22 high-burden TB countries in the world. In Vietnam, about 180,000 TB cases are reported annually and about 95,000-100,000 TB patients are detected and treated by the National Tuberculosis Control Program.
The US is making major investments to prevent and control TB where the burden of the disease is highest. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is working in 40 countries with national TB control programs to deliver high-quality services to find and treat TB earlier and to prevent the spread of the disease and the development of drug resistance. The programs are improving access and quality of services in public, private and community sectors. In Vietnam, USAID has provided funding for facility layout, equipment and training in five multi drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) laboratories in Can Tho, Danang, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Thanh Hoa. In addition, USAID supports comprehensive TB and TB/HIV programming through Path, the University Research Company, Management Sciences for Health, and the WHO.
Additional US Government support to Vietnam’s National Tuberculosis Control Program is provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC partners with the Ministry of Health of Vietnam, the Vietnam Administration for HIV AIDS Control and the National Tuberculosis Program to provide HIV testing and treatment to Vietnamese people who are diagnosed with tuberculosis and tuberculosis prevention, testing and treatment for people living with HIV. They have an extensive program to strengthen the national laboratory testing system for tuberculosis. The National Tuberculosis Program and CDC Vietnam are conducting a major research project in to examine effective ways of preventing TB transmission in hospitals. Harvard Medical School HIV/AIDS initiative in Vietnam, with CDC funds, provides training to doctors who treat patients with tuberculosis.
Together CDC and USAID programs provide a coordinated and comprehensive support for the people and the Government of Vietnam as they fight against tuberculosis and build stronger health systems.
In addition to bilateral investments worldwide, the US is a major contributor to the World Health Organization (WHO), Stop TB Partnership, the Global Drug Facility and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, all of which provides important support to basic TB control worldwide.
TB is treatable and curable when individuals have access to quality diagnosis and treatment. Promising new diagnostic tools are being introduced to help diagnosis TB patients more quickly and determine resistance to the main anti-TB drugs. With a continued focus on invention and innovation, the global health community aims to cure 28 million people infected with TB by 2016.