New Delhi: A total of 7.5 million people were diagnosed with tuberculosis in 2022, the highest recorded since WHO began global TB monitoring in 1995, according to a report featuring data from 192 countries and areas.
The World Health Organization (WHO) 2023 Global tuberculosis (TB) report also shows that globally, an estimated 10.6 million people fell ill with TB in 2022, up from 10.3 million in 2021.
The report underscores a significant worldwide recovery in the scale-up of TB diagnosis and treatment services in 2022. It shows an encouraging trend starting to reverse the detrimental effects of COVID- 19 disruptions on TB services.
The increase in diagnosis is attributed to good recovery in access to and provision of health services in many countries, WHO said.
India, Indonesia and the Philippines, which together accounted for over 60 per cent of the global reductions in the number of people newly diagnosed with TB in 2020 and 2021, all recovered to beyond 2019 levels in 2022, it said.
"For millennia, our ancestors suffered and died with tuberculosis, without knowing what it was, what caused it, or how to stop it," said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General in a statement.
"Today, we have knowledge and tools they could only have dreamed of. We have political commitment, and we have an opportunity that no generation in the history of humanity has had: the opportunity to write the final chapter in the story of TB," Ghebreyesus said.
Geographically, in 2022, most people who developed TB were in the WHO Regions of South-East Asia (46 per cent), Africa (23 per cent) and the Western Pacific (18 per cent), with smaller proportions in the Eastern Mediterranean (8.1 per cent), the Americas (3.1 per cent) and Europe (2.2 per cent).
The total number of TB-related deaths (including those among people with HIV) was 1.3 million in 2022, down from 14 million in 2021, according to the report.
However, during the 2020-2022 period, COVID-19 disruptions resulted in nearly half a million more deaths from TB. TB continues to be the leading killer among people with HIV, it said.
The report noted that multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) remains a public health crisis. While an estimated 410,000 (4.1 lakh) people developed multidrug-resistant or rifampicin-resistant TB (MDR/RR-TB) in 2022, only about two in five people accessed treatment.
There is some progress in the development of new TB diagnostics, drugs and vaccines. However, this is constrained by the overall level of investment in these areas, according to WHO.