The TB epidemic
TB is one of the three deadliest infectious diseases in the world. In 2013 an estimated 9 million people developed TB, and 1.5 million people died from the disease.
TB particularly affects the poor and disenfranchised. It is estimated that currently around 3 million people with TB are not reached through conventional TB programs and interventions.
TB can usually be completely cured if a person with TB is accurately diagnosed and receives appropriate treatment with antibiotics.
The TB patient must take the drugs under strict supervision for the full term (usually six months). This is part of the DOTS strategy, a highly cost-effective approach to controlling the TB epidemic and incorporated in the World Health Organization’s END TB Strategy<http://www.who.int/tb/post2015_strategy/en/>.
The rise of drug-resistant TB
If the prescribed TB drug regimen is not correctly adhered to this creates a serious risk of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). The rise and spread of MDR-TB is one of the most difficult challenges in TB control. With MDR-TB the disease is unresponsive to the most powerful anti-TB drugs, reducing the patient’s chances of a full recovery. It is estimated that each year over 150,000 people die from drug-resistant TB.