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Statement from Kent Hill, USAID Assistant Administrator for Global Health, on the Observance of World Tuberculosis Day 2008
Date:3/24/2008

te sectors, and nongovernmental and governmental organizations. Working closely with our partners, USAID recently increased the capacity to deliver Directly Observed Short Course (DOTS) treatment in more than 40 countries, including hard hit countries such as India, Indonesia, South Africa, and Russia

Our efforts are saving lives and making a real difference in affected communities, but much work remains to be done. The best approach we have to diagnose TB in resource limited settings is more than 100 years old, and the approach is only effective half of the time, even less so in HIV positive patients where TB is deadliest.

In addition, Eastern Europe and Asia are fighting an increasing prevalence of multiple drug resistance (MDR) to proven drug therapies. According to a new WHO report, MDR-TB rates are at their highest ever. MDR-TB requires treatment for 18 to 24 months with second-line drugs that are much less effective, poorly tolerated by the patient, and far more costly. Nearly 500,000 new cases of MDR-TB emerged globally in 2006.

Extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB, a subset of MDR-TB caused by bacteria strains that are resistant to first-line and the most effective second-line drugs, has been recorded in 45 countries. XDR-TB is a virtually untreatable form of the respiratory disease. The true scale of the problem remains almost unknown because few countries are equipped to diagnose it.

Africa has the highest incidence of TB in the world, and Sub-Saharan Africa is battling the combined effects of TB and HIV/AIDS. TB is the leading cause of death for AIDS patients. In parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, rates of HIV co-infection among TB patients often exceed 50 percent.

The recent WHO report finds that some countries are making strides against the TB/HIV co-epidemic. Almost 700,000 TB patients were tested for HIV in 2006, up from 22,000 in 2002.

In addition to our work to strengthen basic TB programs, USAID has mo
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SOURCE U.S. Agency for International Development
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