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TB must be fought
in Africa, experts warn

TB must be fought
in Africa, experts warn

Public health experts Tuesday accused the World Bank of neglecting Africa's fight against tuberculosis, saying the institution should spend more fighting a disease whose resurgence in recent years has been linked to AIDS.

"The World Bank is spending virtually nothing on Africa's TB emergency," said Joanne Carter of Results International, a U.S. antipoverty advocacy organization.

A report released Tuesday by Results International charged that the bank's support of health projects in Africa unfairly favor HIV/AIDS and malaria, leaving few resources for TB.

"We urge the World Bank to reevaluate its priorities," said Carter. Africa is the only continent where TB rates are increasing.

The World Bank also welcomed the report's call for increased funds in Africa.

A global plan to halve TB incidence by 2015 was launched earlier this year in Davos, Switzerland, by the Stop TB Partnership, a coalition of more than 400 organizations worldwide. The plan identified a $31 billion funding gap, of which approximately $10 billion is needed for Africa alone.

The problem of drug-resistant TB is also emerging in Africa, with the recent identification of an extremely resistant strain in South Africa. The strain was virtually untreatable, killing 52 of 53 people infected in the last year. Experts say that due to poor surveillance, it is unknown how many people may actually be infected with this deadly strain. (Maria Cheng, AP)

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