It’s little surprise that—like every other part of life on earth—COVID-19 has caused massive disruptions to efforts to prevent and treat HIV, TB, and malaria, as a Global Fund report released today details. The surprise is that any advances were recorded at all, given wrecked supply chains and hospitals and clinics crowded with coronavirus patients.
The Fund didn’t estimate the number of deaths resulting from the disruptions, but executive director Peter Sands told Reuters that a million fewer people were treated for TB alone. “I’m afraid that inevitably means hundreds of thousands of extra deaths,” he said.
Losses (2020 vs. 2019):
- 19% - reduction in number of people treated for drug-resistant TB in the countries served by the Fund; it was worse for people treated for extensively drug-resistant TB: 37%.
- 11% - drop in people helped by HIV prevention programs and services
- 4.3% - reduction in the number of suspected malaria cases tested
- 17% - increase in number of mosquito nets distributed (reaching 188 million)
- 8.8% - increase in people receiving antiretroviral therapy for HIV (reaching 21.9 million)
COVID-19 stalled major public health successes: Deaths from the 3 diseases had been halved since 2004, The New York Times reports.