Yes! We can end TB!

Dr. Suhani Jain
MBBS, Medical Editorial Team, Pediatric Oncall.

24th March 1882 – the day when Dr. Robert Koch discovered Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacillus that causes Tuberculosis (TB). Back then, TB was a wreaking havoc across Europe and the Americas and was responsible for the death of one out of every seven people who contracted it. The discovery made by Koch paved the way for the detection and treatment of the disease .A decade later, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD) proposed that 24 March be proclaimed an official World TB Day.

One of the deadliest infectious diseases in the world today is TB. Nearly 28,000 people get sick with this disease every day, and over 4100 people die from it. Since 2000, it is estimated that 66 million lives have been saved due to global efforts to combat tuberculosis. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has undone years of advancement in the effort to eradicate tuberculosis. According to the WHO Global Tuberculosis Report 2022, the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed, interrupted, or reversed the progress made in the fight against tuberculosis up until 2019. It continues to have a negative impact on tuberculosis diagnosis and care—and consequently, the burden of the disease by increasing the incidence rate of the disease by 3.6 percent.

World TB Day is one of eleven official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO) with the aim to increase public awareness of the TB epidemic around the world and educate people about the grave impact of the disease .

This year we commemorate the same – with the theme 'Yes! We can end TB!' which offers a plethora of opportunities for encouraging high level leadership, increased investment in diagnostics and treatment options along with faster adoption of WHO policies. WHO will also collaborate with partners to issue an action urging Member States to quicken the adoption of the new, shorter, all-oral treatment regimens for drug-resistant TB that are recommended by WHO.

However, it will take coordinated effort from all sectors to end TB. The health system cannot effectively combat TB on its own. Strong multisectoral collaboration (outside of the health sector) and an efficient accountability system are also necessary. The END TB STRATEGY will provide countries with a roadmap for reducing TB incidence by 80%, TB deaths by 90%, and catastrophic costs for households affected by TB by 2030. The Strategy is not a "one size fits all" approach, and will be customised for various national contexts in order to be successful.

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