More poverty and tuberculosis (TB) in indigenous peoples

"Where we have indigenous people, we have more poverty and more TB incidence" said Mirtha del Granado, Regional Adviser on TB, WHO (in Americas) at the 41st Union World Conference on Lung Health, Berlin, Germany. There are 63,432 missed cases of TB in Americas (North, Central and South America), said Mirtha. Most of them are in Priority countries detecting less than 50% TB, said Mirtha. Read more


According to estimates about 6% of the population in Americas (45-50 million) are from indigenous communities, which include 400 different indigenous populations living in 24 countries.

Stressing on the link of poverty with TB, Mirtha said that 94% of indigenous population in Latin America are living n TB priority countries. In priority countries like Guatemala and Peru, more than 40% of their population is indigenous.

In Chile, the TB incidence in general population is 25 cases per 100,000, but among indigenous communities in Peru, the TB incidence is of 170 – about 6 times more!

In Brazil, TB incidence in general population is 20 per 100,000 but among indigenous communities it is 32.7

In Panama, TB incidence in general population is 43 per 100,000, but among indigenous communities it is about 126-167.

In Mexico, TB incidence in general population is 27 per 100,000, but among indigenous communities it is about 236 – close to nine times more!

In Canada, TB incidence in general population is 5 per 100,000, but among indigenous communities it is about 24.5 – about five times more!

Brazil is a good example of addressing TB in indigenous population effectively. There is a special national policy to offer integrated approach to indigenous populations in Brazil.

As a result of sustained efforts to address TB in indigenous communities in Brazil, the TB rate has come down among indigenous peoples from 97.2 (2001) to 32.7 (2008). In general population the TB rate in 2008 was 20.65 per 100,000.

The declining incidence of TB in indigenous populations in Brazil is an outcome of a combination of TB programme and development programme said Mirtha.

Bobby Ramakant - CNS 


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