Each year, World TB Day is commemorated on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of tuberculosis (TB) and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic.
The date marks the day in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacterium that causes TB, which opened the way towards diagnosing and curing this disease.
Despite significant progress over the last decades, according to WHO, TB continues to be the top infectious killer worldwide, claiming over 4 500 lives a day.
The emergence of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) poses a major health security threat and could risk gains made in the fight against TB.
The theme of World TB Day 2018 – “Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free world”- focuses on building commitment to end TB, not only at the political level, but at all levels from Mayors, Governors, parliamentarians and community leaders, to people affected with TB, civil society advocates, health workers, doctors or nurses, NGOs and other partners.
This, according to WHO, is a critical theme, given the political importance of the upcoming UN General Assembly high-level meeting on TB this year, which will bring together Heads of State in New York.
It follows on from a Ministerial Conference on Ending TB in Moscow on 16-17 November, 2017 which resulted in high-level commitments from Ministers and other leaders from 120 countries to accelerate progress to end TB.
World TB Day provides the opportunity to shine the spotlight on the disease and mobilize political and social commitment for accelerate progress to end TB.
Photo courtesy: WHO