On Wednesday, the United Nations General Assembly will gather for a first-ever summit to examine the spread of tuberculosis (TB) globally, specifically in developing and underdeveloped regions.
There has been a seven percent decrease in the number of registered cases of tuberculosis infections but these figures come amid increased instances of a drug-resistant strain of the disease.
TB currently infects one-quarter of the world’s population and claims more lives than HIV/AIDS, annually. An estimated 1.6 million people or more died each year, across the globe, from TB, with South Africa having the second-highest rate of infection on the African continent.
There were more than 10.6 million cases of tuberculosis globally in 2016, according to officials from the Wellcome Center for Infectious Diseases Research in Cape Town, South Africa.
The center noted that the disease is becoming resistant to many antibiotics and “less than a quarter of the estimated 600,000 patients with multidrug-resistant … tuberculosis received diagnosis and were treated.”
But, there is no definitive blueprint for how tuberculosis is developed and how drugs respond to the disease.