The Covid-19 has disrupted access to health systems, screening tests and treatment in many countries, especially in the Sahel, with particularly “catastrophic” consequences in the fight against tuberculosis.
The Covid-19 has had a “devastating impact” on the fight against AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, which has experienced an unprecedented decline, lamented the Global Fund in its annual report published this September 8.
Together, the partnership of @GlobalFund has saved 44 MILLION lives since 2002. But for the first time in its history, key indicators for HIV, TB and malaria have declined. the # COVID19 derailed progress. We cannot accept this. pic.twitter.com/0u4uN8DWFx
– The Global Fund (@GlobalFund) September 8, 2021
For the first time since its creation in 2002, the Fund is reporting “declining” indicators: it is particularly concerned about significant reductions in HIV testing and prevention services for key and vulnerable populations, and an increase in HIV prevention services. sharp decrease in the number of people tested and treated for tuberculosis, with particular impact on drug-resistant tuberculosis control programs.
Covid-19 has disrupted access to health systems, screening tests and treatment in many countries, especially in the Sahel and India, with particularly “catastrophic” consequences in the fight against tuberculosis. The Fund adds that it expects disruption to continue in 2021 due to the Delta variant.
In 2020, the number of people treated for drug-resistant tuberculosis fell by 19%. In countries where the Global Fund invests, around 4.7 million people with the disease have received treatment: “About a million fewer people were treated for tuberculosis in 2020 than in 2019, and I’m afraid that this inevitably means that hundreds of thousands of people will die, ”lamented Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Fund.
AIDS and malaria screenings on the decline
With regard to the fight against HIV, the number of positive people receiving antiretroviral treatment continued to increase (+ 9% in 2020), but the report underlines an “alarming” decline in prevention and screening services among key and vulnerable people: the number of people reached by AIDS prevention programs decreased by 11% in 2020, and even by 12% among the youngest populations. And the number of treatments given to mothers to prevent their babies from contracting the virus has fallen by 4.5%.
Globally, screening for AIDS has declined by 22%. In contrast, in countries where the Global Fund has invested, 21.9 million people were on antiretroviral therapy for HIV in 2020, an increase of 8.8% from 2019.
So far, malaria programs seem to have been less affected by Covid-19, the report continues: the number of mosquito nets distributed has continued to grow, by 17% in 2020. The Fund attributes this increase in particular the fact that in a certain number of countries, volunteers engaged in the fight against the disease have abandoned distributions in large centers, incompatible with the pandemic, in favor of door-to-door. However, the number of screenings of people suspected of having malaria fell by 4.3% in 2020, deplores the Fund.