What we’re reading: World TB Day finds cases rising in New York in the midst of momentum

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Tuberculosis could come back – Can the impacts of TB around the world be ended, when places where incidence of the preventable and curable disease continues to rise even include New York, the city that is home to more billionaires that any other on earth? While TB incidence in the United States is on the decline overall, as noted here Thursday, towns and cities across the nation where the numbers of new cases are rising will keep the goal of eliminating the disease during this century out of reach, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned. This opinion piece in the New York Daily News, notes, as community organizations in the city also have, that a 10 percent increase in New York’s tuberculosis incidence last year followed a series of budget cuts that halved spending for the city’s TB program over the previous decade, leading to reducing its TB workforce by half, and closing more than half of its chest clinics. In a crowded global city like New York, the authors note, those “savings” are already up to a costly mistake.

This is real momentum – With world leaders of some of the most heavily afflicted countries rallying, finally, behind a vision of a global collaborative response to tuberculosis, the long-missing ingredients — political recognition and commitment to eliminate TB — may finally make a difference, this article, published on World TB Day says. But for that intention to manifest in results, as one World Health Organization representative notes, the disease, its global impacts, and the gaps that allow it to flourish must be tackled every day.

Leading for a TB-Free World – Seed Global Health educator Yohannes Wondimagegnehu explains in this interview the difference that trained and equipped health workers can make in Swaziland, where the rate of tuberculosis incidence is the highest in the world and is complicated in 80 percent of its cases by HIV co-infection.

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