Tag Archives: Margaret Chan

The Narrowing Health Gap Between Rich and Poor Countries

The World Health Organization released its annual World Health Statistics report. In the report the WHO looked at all of its global regions to see how countries fared in various global data stats  including maternal and child mortality, life expectancy, and health coverage as examples.

“Intensive efforts to achieve the MDGs have clearly improved health for people all over the world,” says Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO. “But with less than 1000 days to go to reach the MDG deadline, it is timely to ask if these efforts have made a difference in reducing the unacceptable inequities between the richest and poorest countries.”

Since I am in India with Nicole Melancon to visit some of Mom Bloggers for Social Good’s key partners I have decided to look at India’s health statistics from the report. Overall, however, globally the shift between rich and poor countries is narrowing, but not quickly enough.


Life Expectancy for Both Sexes: 

1990: 58

2011: 65


  • Stillbirth Rate in 2009: 22 per 1000 livebirths
  • Neonatal Mortality Rate: 47 per 1000 live births in 1990; 32 per 1000 live births in 2011
  • Under Five Mortality Rate: 114 per 1000 live births in 1990; 88 per 1000 live births in 2000;  61 per 1000 live births in 2011
  • Specific Causes of Mortality: In India pneumonia and prematurity claims the greatest lives for children under the age of five

Infectious Diseases: By far the greatest infectious disease in India is tuberculosis with 1,323,949 cases in 2011.

Health Coverage: India has a 21% unmet need for family planning and 55% contraceptive coverage. India has 75% antenatal care coverage with one visit. That percentage drops sharply to 50% with four visits. Only 58% of women in India give birth with a skilled birth attendant.

You can read more health statistics for each country at http://apps.who.int.

Photo: United Nations

A Global Update on Tuberculosis on World TB Day

Today marks World TB Day, a day that has been celebrated since 1982 to remember those who have succumbed to the disease, celebrate the achievements met to lower TB rates, and resolve to do more to treat those who have tuberculosis.

Secretary-General & Mrs. Ban visit TB patients at the Institute of Respiratory Medicine to commemorate the World Tuberculosis Day in Malaysia along with the Minister of Health.
Secretary-General & Mrs. Ban visit TB patients at the Institute of Respiratory Medicine to commemorate the World Tuberculosis Day in Malaysia along with the Minister of Health.

According to the Stop TB Partnership 1.5 million people die every year from tuberculosis. That number is down sharply 41% since 1990. The leading co-infection with HIV, tuberculosis remains a difficult disease to treat because of the many strains of multi-drug resistant TB that primarily plagues the developing world.

This week, leading up to World TB Day, leaders met in Swaziland to sign the Swaziland Statement (PDF) reaffirming the region’s commitment to meeting the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of cutting the TB mortality rate by 50% by 2015. Africa is the only WHO region that is not on track to meet the TB MDG. In fact, in 2011 600,000 people died from TB in Africa accounting for 40% of the world’s toll. According to the Stop TB Partnership, Africa has overtaken Asia as the world’s leader in TB cases.

Over $120 million dollars was pledged to jump-start the initiative to render TB under control in Africa. The Global Fund to treat AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria pledged $102 million to the effort with additional funding coming from the UK government, the International Organization for Migration, and the Stop TB Partnership. There are now 1000 days before the MDGs expire. Participants who signed the Swaziland Statement are confident that the goal can be reached in Africa.

“The UN has given us a mandate that we have to achieve by 2015,” said King Mwatsi III of Swaziland as he welcomed the delegation. “When 2015 comes, will we be able to say that we have met the challenges set?”

Globally, multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) affects 630,000 people. MDR-TB is extremely hard and expensive to treat. And the treatment regime is hard for patients because of its level of toxicity that causes nausea and abdominal pain.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan stressed that while curing MDR-TB is feasible, it takes 20 to 24 months of treatment with expensive and toxic drugs, some of which need to be administered by injection and some of which are in short supply.

“Despite recent success in shrinking the epidemic, the global TB burden remains enormous. MDR-TB has been detected in virtually every country that has looked for it,” Ms. Chan told a press briefing in Geneva on Thursday. (Source)

The $1.6 Billion Funding Challenge

According to the WHO and the Global Fund there is a $1.6 billion shortfall in TB funding which is mainly needed to diagnose and treat MDR-TB. Another $1.3 billion is needed every year for TB research.

We have a choice: we can invest now or we can pay forever.Global Fund

[NEW] EXPOSED the Race Against Tuberculosis from AERAS

EXPOSED is a four-part series of short films that tell the story of the deadly global epidemic of tuberculosis. The series focuses on current efforts to halt this airborne disease, which is growing more difficult to address, as well as the urgent movement to develop new tools to prevent it.

Aeras is a nonprofit biotech organization that advances new TB vaccines for the world.

EXPOSED: The Race Against Tuberculosis (Official Trailer) from Aeras on Vimeo.

[March 25 – 27] TB Vaccines Third Global Forum 


Tomorrow starts the third global forum addressing TB Vaccines. Held in Cape Town, South Africa you can follow the activity at #TBVaccines. The forum participants will discuss everything from creativity in research and discovery to advocacy and resource mobilization. Visit the forum site at www.tbvaccines2013.org.

Keep up with global tuberculosis news on TheGlobalFund.org, WHO.int, and GatesFoundation.org.

Photos: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe