Global tuberculosis report 2021

Milestones :: Perspectives :: Research



Global tuberculosis report 2021
14 October 2021  |
WHO Report :: 57 pages
Each year, the WHO Global TB Report provides a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of the TB epidemic, and of progress in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease, at global, regional and country levels. This is done in the context of global TB commitments, strategies and targets.
The 2021 edition of the report has been produced in a new and more web-centric format. This is designed to make the content available in smaller (more “bite-sized”) chunks that are easier to read, digest, navigate and use. There is a short and slim report PDF with 30 pages of main content plus six short annexes. This is accompanied by expanded and more detailed digital content on web pages. The total amount of content remains similar to that of previous years.
Please note that direct comparisons between estimates of TB disease burden in the latest report and previous reports are not appropriate. The most recent time-series of estimates are published in this global TB report.
Global TB reports from previous years can be found here.


Top findings and messages in the 2021 report
The COVID-19 pandemic has reversed years of progress in providing essential TB services and reducing TB disease burden. Global TB targets are mostly off-track, although there are some country and regional success stories.

The most obvious impact is a large global drop in the number of people newly diagnosed with TB and reported. This fell from 7.1 million in 2019 to 5.8 million in 2020, an 18% decline back to the level of 2012 and far short of the approximately 10 million people who developed TB in 2020. 16 countries accounted for 93% of this reduction, with India, Indonesia and the Philippines the worst affected. Provisional data up to June 2021 show ongoing shortfalls.

Reduced access to TB diagnosis and treatment has resulted in an increase in TB deaths. Best estimates for 2020 are 1.3 million TB deaths among HIV-negative people (up from 1.2 million in 2019) and an additional 214 000 among HIV-positive peoplea (up from 209 000 in 2019), with the combined total back to the level of 2017. Declines in TB incidence (the number of people developing TB each year) achieved in previous years have slowed almost to a halt. These impacts are forecast to be much worse in 2021 and 2022.

Other impacts include reductions between 2019 and 2020 in the number of people provided with treatment for drug-resistant TB (-15%, from 177 100 to 150 359, about 1 in 3 of those in need) and TB preventive treatment (-21%, from 3.6 million to 2.8 million), and a fall in global spending on TB diagnostic, treatment and prevention services (from US$ 5.8 billion to US$ 5.3 billion, less than half of what is needed).

Actions to mitigate and reverse these impacts are urgently required. The immediate priority is to restore access to and provision of essential TB services such that levels of TB case detection and treatment can recover to at least 2019 levels, especially in the most badly-affected countries.
a Officially classified as deaths from HIV/AIDS.

Tuberculosis deaths rise for the first time in more than a decade due to the COVID-19 pandemic
14 October 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has reversed years of global progress in tackling tuberculosis and for the first time in over a decade, TB deaths have increased, according to the World Health Organization’s 2021 Global TB report.

In 2020, more people died from TB, with far fewer people being diagnosed and treated or provided with TB preventive treatment compared with 2019, and overall spending on essential TB services falling.

“This report confirms our fears that the disruption of essential health services due to the pandemic could start to unravel years of progress against tuberculosis,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “This is alarming news that must serve as a global wake-up call to the urgent need for investments and innovation to close the gaps in diagnosis, treatment and care for the millions of people affected by this ancient but preventable and treatable disease.”…

The increase in the number of TB deaths occurred mainly in the 30 countries with the highest burden of TB[1]. WHO modelling projections suggest the number of people developing TB and dying from the disease could be much higher in 2021 and 2022…

WHO estimates that some 4.1 million people currently suffer from TB but have not been diagnosed with the disease or have not officially reported to national authorities. This figure is up from 2.9 million in 2019…