HAMPSTEAD, Maryland — Since 2012, the northeast African country of Eritrea has seen a significant decline in tuberculosis cases. Over the past decade, the country has greatly improved access to testing and treatment for the disease, which is a major cause of death in many African countries. Here is what you need to know about how Eritrea is tackling its tuberculosis problem.
Since 2012, cases of tuberculosis in Eritrea have declined by over 50%. These impressive numbers are the result of the country’s preventative measures and improving health care infrastructure. Eritrea’s relative success in reducing the spread of TB has made the country stand out among others in the region.
Health Care in Eritrea
Eritrea’s health care system has seen significant improvement with intervention from international organizations. While there is still room to improve, treatment effectiveness for tuberculosis has risen to over 90%.
Access to treatment for the disease is free for everyone in the country. Eritrea is strongly committed to lowering TB cases and has invested a great deal into further disease prevention. The country continues to implement internationally-recommended, effective strategies to combat the spread of TB.
The progress made toward reducing tuberculosis in Eritrea has also helped to improve living conditions within the country. TB is known to be a large factor in worsening poverty and the country’s dedication to the prevention of the disease has had an impact on life in Eritrea. With increasing access to health care resources, the country’s life expectancy continues to rise.
Groups Aiding The Fight
Between government efforts and international intervention, treatment and prevention for TB are becoming more and more accessible. The United Nations has been a major player in helping the country to combat the spread of tuberculosis, providing access to health care for over 1.7 million people in the country. The UN has also aided the country in improving sanitation, further reducing the spread of tuberculosis in Eritrea.
Eritrea has also received over $9 million from The Global Fund to help further reduce the impact of tuberculosis. The funding aims to further improve coverage and awareness of Eritrea’s free tuberculosis treatment, especially in more remote areas. Along with this, the allocations also seek to increase detection and testing for these regions.
The World Health Organization also has aided efforts to reduce tuberculosis in Eritrea. The WHO is also working alongside Eritrea to ensure universal health care coverage within the country. The organization has cited improvements in testing and laboratory equipment as a large factor in the fight against tuberculosis. Along with this, the WHO is also helping to monitor drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis within Eritrea.
Eritrea’s Ministry of Health has partnered with these organizations to launch several major initiatives against tuberculosis, including enhanced treatment of drug-resistant TB and the development of an outreach program to improve testing and equipment for more remote areas.
Eritrea’s efforts to combat the spread of tuberculosis have saved countless lives and helped to pull vulnerable populations away from poverty. While there is still room for improvement, Eritrea’s remarkable success can serve as an example of the effectiveness of international aid and government intervention.
– Mary Burke