World Health Organization representative Dr Li Ailan recently said that despite having achieved impressive results in the fight against tuberculosis (TB), Cambodia remains on the global TB watch list. , and the Covid-19 pandemic has reversed years of progress in the country’s fight to end TB.
“Cambodia has made remarkable progress in reducing the incidence rate [of TB] by 22% between 2015 and 2019 and was removed from the list of 30 high TB burden countries in the middle of last year. However, we remain on the global TB watch list, which means we need to monitor and prioritize TB services,” she said.
“The incidence rate has been reduced by 53%, from 579 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 2000 to 274 per 100,000 in 2020. Around 500,000 tuberculosis patients have been cured and 400,000 deaths averted since 2000.
“In mid-2021, Cambodia graduated from the list of 30 countries with high incidence of tuberculosis and was recognized for its success in reducing the disease. Between 2015 and 2019, the incidence rate dropped by 22%,” she added.
She noted that the country has identified about 63% of the estimated 46,000 TB cases in 2020, meaning that a third are unidentified or unreported cases. An estimated 3,300 people died of tuberculosis in 2020.
Additional investments and collective efforts in TB detection, diagnosis, treatment and care are needed to sustain past achievements and accelerate progress towards the goal of ending TB by 2030.
Dr Ailan said ending TB requires concrete action from all sectors to deliver the right services, support and enable a safe environment in the right place at the right time. Everyone has a role to play in ending TB, including communities, business and government.
“I am excited about Cambodia’s innovative response to TB. These interventions include introducing the public-private mix for TB, strengthening childhood TB services and preventive treatment, and expanding highly sensitive molecular diagnostic platforms such as GeneXpert as an initial diagnostic for all presumptive TB cases to find more missing cases,” she said. added.