The head of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, Peter Sands, has warned that climate change and conflict are impeding efforts to combat three of the world’s deadliest infectious diseases. While international initiatives to combat these diseases have largely recovered from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the escalating challenges posed by climate change and conflict are likely to hinder the goal of eradicating AIDS, TB, and malaria by 2030 unless “extraordinary steps” are taken.
Despite these challenges, there have been positive achievements, including a record 6.7 million people treated for TB in 2022, and 24.5 million people placed on antiretroviral therapy for HIV. However, the report notes that recovery after the pandemic has been significantly more difficult due to a convergence of interconnected crises, particularly climate change.
For instance, malaria is now spreading to previously cooler highland regions in Africa, and extreme weather events like floods are overwhelming healthcare services, leading to disruptions in treatment and infections.Despite these obstacles, there is optimism driven by innovative prevention and diagnostic tools. Advocates are also hopeful for increased attention on tuberculosis at a high-level meeting during the UN General Assembly.
Source – CGTN