Brazil establishes committee to eliminate tuberculosis

The Ministry of Health will coordinate actions until 2030

Published on 22/04/2023 - 14:13 By Luciano Nascimento - Repórter da Agência Brasil - Brasília

The Brazilian federal government has taken a significant step towards eliminating tuberculosis and other socially determined diseases by establishing the Interministerial Committee for the Elimination of Tuberculosis and Other Socially Determined Diseases (Cieds). The Ministry of Health will be leading the charge by coordinating with eight other ministries to implement measures aimed at eliminating these diseases by 2030.

In 2017, Brazil made a commitment to eliminate the disease by reducing the incidence coefficient of tuberculosis by 90 percent and the number of deaths resulting from the disease in the country by 95 percent by 2035, compared to 2015 data.

Government data indicate that Brazil alone accounts for one-third of all tuberculosis cases in the Americas, with an estimated 72,600 new cases and 4,700 deaths annually. 

Vulnerable populations

Tuberculosis is a contagious disease caused by bacteria that typically targets the lungs but can also affect other organs. The pulmonary form of tuberculosis is the most common and is responsible for perpetuating the transmission of the disease. This form is strongly linked to social determinants of health, with poverty and social exclusion being major risk factors. 

In Brazil, certain populations are particularly vulnerable to tuberculosis. Those who are homeless face a 56-fold increased risk of contracting the disease, while those who are incarcerated face a 26-fold increased risk. People living with HIV/AIDS have a 21-fold increased risk, and indigenous populations have a three-fold increased risk. 

The Ministry of Health reports that incarcerated individuals make up approximately 0.3 percent of the Brazilian population, yet they contributed to 9.9 percent of the new tuberculosis cases registered in the country in 2021 (8,637 new occurrences). Among people living with HIV, tuberculosis is one of the leading causes of mortality. 

Indigenous communities face the challenge of accessing healthcare services in their villages. On the other hand, for homeless individuals, effective approach and reception strategies are essential for early identification of people with respiratory symptoms, timely diagnosis, and ensuring follow-up until completion of treatment. 

Translation: Mário Nunes -  Edition: Kleber Sampaio

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