|Health workers in hazmat suits walk outside the Manila COVID-19 Field Hospital in Manila, Philippines, on Sep 7, 2021. (Photo by= REUTERS/Lisa Marie David)|
[Asia News = Reporter Reakkana] GENEVA: Hundreds of thousands of people will die of tuberculosis left untreated because of disruption to healthcare systems in poor countries caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a global aid fund said, according to AFP.
In a few of the world's poorest countries, excess deaths from AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) could even exceed those from the coronavirus itself, said the head of the Geneva-based aid body, known as the Global Fund. The Fund's annual report for 2020, released on Wednesday, showed that the number of people treated for drug-resistant tuberculosis in countries where it operates fell by 19 percent. A decline of 11 percent was reported in HIV prevention programs and services.
The Geneva-based Global Fund is an alliance of governments, civil society, and private sector partners investing more than US$4 billion per year to fight tuberculosis, malaria, and AIDS. The United States is its top donor. He said the decline in treatment for other diseases "underscores the need to look at the total impact of COVID-19 and measure success in combating it not just by the reduction in deaths due to COVID-19 itself but to the knock-on impact". Malaria proved to be an exception to the trend in 2020, and prevention activities remained stable or increased compared to 2019, the Global Fund said.