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‘Global Pulse’ Blog Examines Declining TB Incidence In Estonia

In this post in GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog, journalist John Donnelly reports on tuberculosis (TB) in Estonia and how the country has significantly reduced the proportion of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) cases since 1998. He writes, “The numbers of new TB cases in Estonia were five times that of the Nordic countries in 1998, but the numbers have tumbled since then and last year Estonia had cut that in half, to 2.5 times the number.”

MDR-TB still represents 22 percent of all TB cases, but several factors — including “a decision by government leaders to fully fund anti-TB efforts; banning sale of TB drugs in pharmacies in order to cut down on misuse; annual training of all TB medical staff by international experts; and the country ensured it would have enough of the scarce drugs needed to fight MDR-TB” — have helped bring down the numbers, he reports. Donnelly is reporting independently on a trip made through the Philippines, Estonia, and Peru with photographer Riccardo Venturi “at the invitation of the Japanese company Otsuka Pharmaceutical to look at the human impact of TB” (12/20).  

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