TB Day: The Worldwide Fight goes on!
New challenges are also posed by multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and even extensively drug resistant TB (XDR-TB), which is practically untreatable.
TB is definitely a worldwide threat. Though most of the cases are detected in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, the importation of TB, including MDR-TB, from Eastern Europe and other countries to the EU is a serious concern for the European Union. In addition TB is also present in Northern America.
Apart from the enormous relevance of the TB epidemic for people’s health it is also an economic problem of great scale. Several studies have shown that it causes damages in a magnitude of many billions of € in emerging countries. Furthermore, transferring cost data from a German study to the scale of the entire EU shows that TB associated costs within the EU are in the magnitude of more than € 1 billion per year.
Based on the above findings, EDMA believes that it is of tremendous value, both clinically and economically, to have access in all countries to modern rapid tests for detection of TB and for drug susceptibility testing, including NAT tests, to ensure effective chemotherapy and to prevent the further spread of drug-resistant forms of TB. Further, modern methods for detecting TB infection before it progresses to disease stages have been recently developed and validated by the scientific community. These tests afford new opportunities for systematically reducing the number of persons who fall victim to TB.
Though it is a permanent obligation to develop advanced tests with respect to convenience, affordability and specifity, EDMA feels that one challenging objective at present is to make consequent use of the tests which are available today. There is abundant data which shows that this would lead to improved patient care as well as to overall cost savings. In Vitro Diagnostics represents less than 2% of the health expenses but influences about 65% of the medical decision.
EDMA cooperates with the “Stop TB Partnership”, a worldwide network of more than 500 international organizations, donors and institutions that work together to fight TB and is committed to bring its best support to reach the objectives fixed by the partnership.