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More funding needed to fight TB in SA and globally, specialist says

According the World Health Organisation, TB is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide.

South Africa sees the introduction of a scanner that significantly accelerates the diagnostic process for cancer-spread and tuberculosis. Picture: Anne Grobler.

CAPE TOWN – A leading TB specialist believes more funding and practical interventions are needed to fight tuberculosis in South Africa and around the globe.

According the World Health Organisation, TB is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide.

A total of 10.4 million people were infected with TB in 2016 alone.

Issues around tuberculosis took center stage at a three-day TB conference held this week in Durban.

Dr Richard Gordon, who's an executive director at the South African Medical Research Council believes investing millions in clinical trials are simply not enough to fight the disease.

He believes more money should be spent on among others research.

“The days of funding the clinical trials for TB are over. I think that what was coined the shift to the left to achieve a lot more fundamental research going into TB. And again, it’s not just the basic sciences.”

Gordon adds South Africa is one of the countries with the highest burden of TB.

Meanwhile, according to the World Health Organisation globally, in 2016, an estimated 1 million children became ill with TB and 250 000 children died of TB.

TB also remains the leading killer of HIV-positive people.