Tuesday, January 04, 2011

UK accused of covering up G-8 failure in TB pledge

Development policy of the UK was attacked today in a medical journal. The writers say that the UK government is covering up the failure of the G-8 to keep its commitment in cutting the spread of tuberculosis.

The G-8 pledged to help cut TB deaths by 50 percent by 2010, but that deadline has passed with only an 11 percent reduction.

From UTV News, we read more about the accusations against the UK.

In a hard-hitting attack on UK policy, published by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, three experts based in Bangladesh say the UK's strategy against the disease is aimed at preventing its spread to the west, rather than tackling the living conditions in deprived communities where TB is endemic.

Bruce Currey, Professor Quazi Quamruzzaman and Professor Mahmuder Rahman, all based at Dhaka Community Hospital in Bangladesh, accuse the UK's department for international development of glossing over the deaths of nearly half a million people.

The Department for International Development's (DfID) factsheet on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, issued in December 2008, claims that in southern Asia, "progress in halting and reversing the spread of tuberculosis" is "almost met, or on target". It describes mortality as moderate.

"The Crown's term 'moderate mortality' covers up an annual tuberculosis death toll, estimated by WHO, of almost half a million people (460,003), mostly poor, in south Asia," say Currey and colleagues.

The three experts praise the UK's leadership at the G8 meeting in Okinawa in 2000, which pledged to "Reduce TB deaths and prevalence of the disease by 50% by 2010".

But, they say, the commitment was then watered down. The Millennium Development Goals, formulated by the United Nations in September the same year, put tuberculosis in a category with other infectious diseases and committed to "have halted and begun to reverse the spread" of all of them by 2015‚ " five years later than the target the G8 named".

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