For the first time in history, we can see the first encouraging signs in the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria. Over the past decade, the health community made significant scientific advances that have made available the tools that could eventually defeat the aforementioned pandemics. Failing to act now will continue to result in preventable deaths and staggering costs to combat these epidemics in the future. We therefore have a historic opportunity to capitalise on the achievements of the past and eliminate the world’s top three infectious disease killers.
Global Health Advocates is the first NGO doing advocacy on TB at Brussels level and is recognised as a major actor for TB work in France. Through the TB Europe Coalition, which we coordinate, Global Health Advocates created a European TB advocacy network and reinforced the advocacy capacity of NGOs in the WHO European Region. Global Health Advocates links its activities and messages on TB with other poverty-related and neglected diseases to create bridges among diseases and foster consistency in the civil society messaging.
The cause of 1.5 million deaths in 2014, TB is the world's deadliest infectious disease according to the WHO World TB Report 2015. There were 9.6 million new cases of TB across the world last year, an increase of 600,000 on 2013 levels.
Multi Drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) threatens global TB control and is a major public health concern in several countries. Globally, around 5% of new TB cases were MDR-TB in 2015. The highest proportions of MDR-TB cases among new TB cases are in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
According to the latest OMS report, there is a $1.4 billion funding gap for the implementation of existing interventions in 2015 in addition to an annual $1.3 billion funding gap for research and development.
Check out the ACTION TB Fact Sheet
HIV continues to be a major global public health issue, having claimed more than 34 million lives so far and 1.2 million in 2014 alone. According to the WHO, there are approximately 36.9 million people living with HIV. Sub-Saharan Africa is the most affected region, with nearly 1 in every 20 adults living with HIV (69% of all HIV-positive people are living in this region). There is no cure for HIV infection. However, effective treatment with antiretroviral drugs can control the virus so that people with HIV can enjoy healthy and productive lives. In 2012, more than 14.9 million people living with HIV were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART), including 13.5 million in low- and middle-income countries. These 14.9 million people represent 40% of the 36.9 million people living with HIV across the globe. Over the last decade, it is estimated that ART scale-up in low- and middle-income countries has saved 4.2 million lives and prevented 800 000 child infections.
People living with HIV have an estimated 12-20 times greater risk of developing TB than those without HIV infection. Of the 1.5 million people who died of TB in 2014, 400,000 were people living with HIV.
Malaria is a preventable and treatable mosquito-borne disease, whose main victims are children under five years of age in Africa. Between 2000 and 2010, malaria mortality rates fell by 26% around the world. However, according to the latest WHO estimates, there were about 219 million cases of malaria in 2010 and an estimated 660 000 deaths.
Malaria remains inextricably linked with poverty. The highest malaria mortality rates are being seen in countries that have the highest rates of extreme poverty (proportion of population living on less than US$ 1.25 per day). Africa is the most affected continent: about 90% of all malaria deaths occur there.
International targets for reducing malaria cases and deaths will not be attained unless considerable progress is made in the 17 most affected countries, which account for an estimated 80% of malaria cases.
Bridging the Gap: How the European Union can address the funding crisis for TB and HIV programmes in Eastern Europe and Central Asia