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24.03.2004 General News

UN Chief Kofi Annan urges more efforts in the fight against TB

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Accra, March 24, GNA - United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan on Wednesday said the annual observance of the World Tuberculosis (TB) Day is part of the struggle against a disease that is completely curable, yet kills more than two million people yearly. He said in the fight against tuberculosis, the world has the DOTS strategy as a powerful weapon for controlling the disease, adding that it is not only highly effective but also one of the most cost-effective public health interventions in the world that covers nearly 70 percent of the world's population.

In a statement to commemorate the World TB Day on Wednesday, Mr Annan said much more must be done if the world is to turn the tide against the TB epidemic and meet the targets for 2005.

"That means that by next year, we must identify 70 per cent of all infectious cases, and treat successfully 85 per cent of those we identify. It also means we must invest in new diagnostics and drugs to improve DOTS, and in a new vaccine so that eventually we can eliminate TB as a public health threat together."

These are essential steps towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goal of halting, and beginning to reverse the global incidence of TB by 2015, Mr Annan added.

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