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World TB Day – 24 March

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World TB Day is an annual event observed on March 24th to raise awareness about tuberculosis (TB) and efforts to eliminate the global epidemic. The day marks the discovery of the bacterium that causes TB in 1882 by Dr. Robert Koch. The World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners use this day to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social, and economic consequences of TB and to step up efforts to end the disease.

TB is an infectious bacterial disease that primarily affects the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body. It is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide, with an estimated 1.4 million deaths in 2019. TB is spread through the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Anyone can get TB, but it is more common among people who have weakened immune systems, such as those living with HIV, malnutrition, or diabetes. The disease is curable, but it requires a long course of antibiotics and can be complicated by drug resistance.

World TB Day: An Overview

History

World TB Day is an annual event observed on March 24th. It commemorates the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacillus that causes tuberculosis (TB). The day was first observed in 1982, on the centenary of Koch’s announcement.

Purpose

The purpose of World TB Day is to raise public awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis and to mobilize efforts to eliminate the disease. TB is a serious public health problem that affects millions of people worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2018, 10 million people fell ill with TB, and 1.5 million died from the disease, mostly in low- and middle-income countries.

The theme of World TB Day 2023 is “Yes! We can end TB!” which conveys a message of hope that getting back on track to turn the tide against the TB epidemic is possible through high-level leadership, increased investments, faster uptake of new WHO recommendations and adoption of innovations, accelerated action, and multisectoral collaboration. 2023 is a critical year to push forward the agenda toward ending TB, as there are several high-level opportunities to raise visibility, increase funding, and accelerate progress toward ending TB.

In conclusion, World TB Day is an important event that raises awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis and mobilizes efforts to eliminate the disease. Through high-level leadership, increased investments, and multisectoral collaboration, it is possible to end TB and save millions of lives.

Global Impact of Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is a serious infectious disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide, and it is the leading cause of death from a single infectious agent. In 2021, an estimated 10.6 million people fell ill with TB worldwide, and 1.6 million people died from the disease, including 187,000 people with HIV [1].

Statistics

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), TB is most prevalent in low- and middle-income countries, with 95% of TB deaths occurring in these regions. In 2021, the countries with the highest TB burden were India, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Ethiopia [2].

TB is also a major public health problem in prisons, with rates of TB infection and disease significantly higher among prisoners than in the general population. In addition, TB disproportionately affects vulnerable populations, including people living with HIV, children under the age of 5, and people living in poverty [3].

High Risk Regions

TB is most prevalent in regions with high rates of poverty, malnutrition, and overcrowding, as these factors increase the risk of TB transmission. The WHO identifies the following regions as high TB burden areas: Africa, Southeast Asia, the Western Pacific, and the Eastern Mediterranean [1].

In addition, TB is a major problem in areas affected by conflict, displacement, and humanitarian crises. In these settings, TB control efforts are often disrupted, and people may be at a higher risk of developing TB due to poor living conditions and limited access to healthcare [4].

Efforts to combat TB have made progress in recent years, with a 14% reduction in TB deaths between 2015 and 2020. However, much more work is needed to eliminate TB as a public health threat by 2030, as outlined in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals [1].

[1] World Health Organization. (2021). Tuberculosis. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/tuberculosis [2] World Health Organization. (2021). Global Tuberculosis Report 2021. https://www.who.int/teams/global-tuberculosis-programme/tb-reports/global-tuberculosis-report-2021 [3] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Tuberculosis (TB). https://www.cdc.gov/tb/topic/basics/default.htm [4] United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. (2020). Tuberculosis. https://www.unhcr.org/tuberculosis.html

World TB Day Campaigns

Themes

Each year, World TB Day is celebrated with a specific theme to raise public awareness and promote action against tuberculosis (TB). The World Health Organization (WHO) sets the theme for the day, and it is usually related to the current state of the TB epidemic.

For example, the theme for World TB Day 2023 is “Yes! We can end TB!” The theme conveys a message of hope that getting back on track to turn the tide against the TB epidemic is possible through high-level leadership, increased investments, faster uptake of new WHO recommendations, adoption of innovations, accelerated action, and multisectoral collaboration.

Activities

World TB Day is marked by various activities around the world, including:

  • Advocacy campaigns to raise awareness about TB and its impact on individuals, families, and communities
  • Educational events to inform people about TB prevention, diagnosis, and treatment
  • Fundraising events to support TB research, prevention, and care
  • Community mobilization activities to engage people in the fight against TB
  • Political events to encourage policymakers to prioritize TB on their agendas

In recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on World TB Day campaigns. Many events have been moved online, and advocacy efforts have focused on the intersection between TB and COVID-19, highlighting the need to address both diseases simultaneously. Despite these challenges, World TB Day remains an important opportunity to raise awareness and mobilize action against TB.

Role of World Health Organization

The World Health Organization (WHO) plays a crucial role in the fight against tuberculosis (TB). As a specialized agency of the United Nations, the WHO is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, including TB prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

The WHO has set ambitious targets to end the global TB epidemic by 2030. These targets include reducing TB deaths by 90% and reducing TB incidence by 80% compared to 2015 levels. To achieve these targets, the WHO has developed a comprehensive strategy called the End TB Strategy. This strategy aims to ensure universal access to TB prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, as well as to promote research and innovation in TB control.

The WHO also works closely with governments, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders to implement the End TB Strategy at the national and regional levels. This includes providing technical assistance, capacity building, and advocacy support to countries with high TB burden.

In addition, the WHO leads the global effort to develop new TB drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines. For example, the WHO has recently recommended the use of a new TB drug called pretomanid, which has shown promising results in treating drug-resistant TB.

Overall, the WHO’s role in the fight against TB is critical to achieving the global targets to end the TB epidemic. Through its leadership, technical expertise, and collaboration with partners, the WHO is making significant progress towards a world free of TB.

Public Participation

Public participation is crucial in the fight against tuberculosis. The success of India’s fight against TB is a result of public participation [1]. The power of public participation is increasing the confidence of the whole world. It is important to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social, and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic.

World TB Day is observed annually on March 24 to raise awareness about TB and efforts to end the global epidemic. The day marks the day in 1882 when the bacterium causing TB was discovered. On World TB Day, CDC, along with its partners and colleagues around the world, share successes in TB prevention and control and raise awareness of the challenges that hinder our progress toward the elimination of this devastating disease [2].

Public participation is key to ending TB. The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a new initiative to engage communities in the fight against TB. The initiative aims to empower communities to take ownership of their health and well-being and to work together to end TB [3].

In conclusion, public participation is an important factor in the fight against TB. It is important to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social, and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic. Initiatives like the WHO’s community engagement program can help empower communities to take ownership of their health and work together to end TB.

[1] Press Information Bureau. (n.d.). Prime Minister’s Office. https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1910306

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). World TB Day | TB | CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/tb/worldtbday/default.htm

[3] World Health Organization. (n.d.). World TB Day 2023. https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-tb-day/2023

Impact of COVID-19 on Tuberculosis Control

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on tuberculosis (TB) control efforts worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), disruptions to health services caused by the pandemic have led to a decline in TB notifications and an increase in TB deaths.

The WHO’s Global Tuberculosis Report 2020 included provisional estimates of the impact of disruptions caused by COVID-19 on the number of global TB deaths in 2020 and beyond. The report also included provisional data on TB notifications in the first six months of 2020 and data about response strategies implemented by countries to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on TB control efforts.

In many countries, events marking World TB Day in 2020 were cancelled as national lockdowns began. This was not due to TB, but the “other pandemic,” and the year will be remembered as one where the virus SARS-CoV-2 and its disease COVID-19 dominated global health and disrupted national economies.

The impact of disruptions related to COVID-19 on case detection is relatively small and delayed, whereas the impact on TB mortality is much bigger and more rapid. The relative decline in TB incidence estimate rates from 2019 to 2020 is 2.8%, indicating only a small slowing down of the pre-COVID-19 decline.

Despite these challenges, there have been some opportunities to improve TB control efforts in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of investing in health systems and strengthening disease surveillance and response mechanisms.

In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on TB control efforts worldwide. While there have been some challenges, there have also been opportunities to improve TB control efforts in the context of the pandemic. It is important to continue to prioritize TB control efforts and invest in health systems to ensure that progress is not lost.

Conclusion

World TB Day is an important day to raise public awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis and efforts to eliminate the disease. Despite the progress made in the fight against TB, it remains a major public health challenge worldwide, with millions of people still suffering from the disease.

Investment in TB prevention and treatment is crucial to end the global TB epidemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that at least US$ 3 billion annually is needed in the South-East Asia Region to avert nearly 4.5 million new TB cases and prevent more than 1.5 million TB deaths by 2025. Globally, TB kills more than 4,100 people every day.

On World TB Day, it is important to recognize the importance of early detection and treatment of TB. The WHO recommends a comprehensive approach to TB control, including early diagnosis, effective treatment, and prevention of transmission.

Prevention is also key to ending TB. This includes measures such as vaccination, infection control, and addressing social determinants of health that contribute to TB transmission.

In conclusion, World TB Day serves as a reminder of the ongoing fight against TB and the need for continued investment in prevention and treatment efforts. With sustained commitment and resources, it is possible to end the global TB epidemic and ensure a healthier future for all.

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