JOHANNESBURG, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- The BRICS Tuberculosis Research Network Innovation Summit kicked off on Monday in Durban, South Africa's coastal city, with scientists and senior officials from BRICS countries gathering together to facilitate collaborative research on innovations in tuberculosis diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics and drugs and health systems strengthening.
Tuberculosis remains a pressing concern for South Africa as approximately 300,000 people are estimated to get tuberculosis every year, South Africa's Deputy Health Minister Sibongiseni Dhlomo said at the opening plenary of the summit.
"Although our infection incidence is declining, we are concerned about the unacceptable death rate among our tuberculosis patients. A major driver of our TB infection is HIV as 48 percent of our TB patients were people living with HIV in 2022," Dhlomo said.
South Africa has been scaling up new tools for diagnosis and shorter treatment regimens for drug-resistant tuberculosis, he said.
The BRICS nations carry a disproportionate burden of drug susceptible and drug resistant tuberculosis infection, according to Dhlomo, who noted that the summit's aim is to bring together program managers and scientists from BRICS countries to seek ways and means to exchange information, know-how and formulate redress strategies and solutions.
The summit was established by the health ministries of BRICS countries in 2017 in response to the burden of tuberculosis among the BRICS countries. Held under the theme of "BRICS Innovations for Ending Tuberculosis," this year's summit will end on Thursday.