Therapy Areas: AIDS & HIV
The Global Fund estimates that COVID-19 disruption caused many deaths from TB and AIDS in poorest countries
8 September 2021 -

Geneva-based aid body, the Global Fund, has stated that 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, Reuters news agency reported on Wednesday.

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%. A decline of 11% was reported in HIV prevention programmes and services.

Executive director of the Global Fund, Peter Sands, told Reuters: "Essentially, about a million people less were treated for TB in 2020 than in 2019 and I'm afraid that will inevitably mean that hundreds of thousands of people will die."

Sands said that for some poor countries, such as parts of the Sahel region in Africa, excess deaths from the setback in the fight against diseases such as TB or AIDS might prove higher than from COVID-19 itself.

According to Sands, services were affected by COVID-19 lockdowns while clinics, staff and diagnostics normally used for TB were instead deployed for COVID-19 in countries such as India and across Africa.

He added that he expected further disruptions this year due to the Delta COVID-19 virus variant.

The Global Fund is an alliance of governments, civil society and private sector partners investing more than USD4bn per year to fight tuberculosis, malaria and AIDS.

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