The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that deaths by tuberculosis around the world they were around one and a half million during 2020. The international body did not hesitate to point out the indirect culprit of this scenario: the coronavirus pandemic.
This death toll from lung disease is the highest recorded for more than a decade, according to the WHO in the presentation of its annual report on the tuberculosis.
“This report confirms our fears that The interruption of basic health services due to the pandemic could cause a path of years of progress against the disease to be retraced. tuberculosis“, declared the director general of the international health organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The limitation of essential medical services and the diversion of funds to deal with the health crisis caused cases to skyrocket in the poorest countries, where tuberculosis is most widespread. However, not all were diagnosed.
The WHO explained that during 2020 there were 5.8 million official cases of tuberculosis across the planet, when in 2019 there were 7.1 million. In this sense, the actual number of sick last year should be 4.1 million more, according to the body’s calculations.
Therefore, the need to continue with investment and innovation in diagnoses and treatments to deal with this disease, which is the second most deadly infectious disease after the coronavirus, was stressed, according to the WHO.
In Latin America, the country where the most tuberculosis patients were diagnosed was Brazil, also the most affected by the coronavirus in the region.
Fighting the pandemic in Latin America
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) celebrated that 39% of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean have already completed their vaccination against the coronavirus. Likewise, in 26 countries of the region, this figure rises to more than 40%.
However, the Director General of PAHO, Carissa Etienne, clarified that the positive data does not cover all the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. The vaccination rates of Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Haiti, Guatemala and Nicaragua are well below 40%. Each nation faces different challenges, but Etienne called on the governments of the region to coordinate efforts so that everyone can reach the goal.