Brazil’s fight against TB yields slow progress

Brazil’s Ministry of Health (MoH) this week published a report on tuberculosis (TB) in the country, showing that incidence dropped slightly from 75,717 new cases in 2018 to 73,864 last year, although this is still higher than the 69,802 cases recorded in 2015. Mortality has shown a more steady reduction, going from 4,881 deaths in 2008 to 4,490 in 2019.

Although the Unified Health System (SUS) covers the treatment for TB, the disease continues to result in deaths due to 10% of patients not adhering to the 6-month-long treatment, which spans an initial phase administering isoniazid, rifampicin, ethambutol, and pyrazinamide, followed by a maintenance phase that uses isoniazid and rifampicin.

Brazil has recently doubled its efforts against TB, including the development by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) of a single TB tablet to reduce pill burden, last year’s announcement to adopt an effervescent tablet against the disease, and the MoH heading the United Nations (UN)’s Stop TB Partnership since last year.


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