Dr. Salmaan Keshavjee, senior TB specialist at Partners In Health and director of Harvard Medical School's Center for Global Health Delivery-Dubai, writes in a recent op-ed for NPR that countries must stop the spread of tuberculosis by investing in health care systems that can find, diagnose, and treat people exposed to and sick from TB.
As the Ebola epidemic in West Africa slows and falls from the headlines, there is a temptation among many to view this outbreak as an isolated event. In fact, the opposite is true. Ebola is the tip of a global health crisis: a crisis in our collective ability to deliver the essentials of modern medicine to those who need help the most, in the most timely and efficient manner.
Few diseases illustrate the ongoing nature of this crisis better than tuberculosis, a highly transmissible airborne infection that kills more than 1.5 million people every year. Many people think that tuberculosis—a disease often associated with 19th century Romantic-era poets or artists—has been eradicated. But this is not the case. In fact, the global burden of the disease is staggering.
Last year, 9 million people became sick with TB. That's more than the entire population of New York City falling ill with a disease that we have largely been able to cure since 1947.
Read the full op-ed.
Keshavjee's most recent book is Blind Spot: How Neoliberalism Infiltrated Global Health.