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World Tuberculosis Day

World Tuberculosis Day 2019

Each year, we commemorate World Tuberculosis (TB) Day on March 24 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. 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.

TB remains the world’s deadliest infectious killer. Each day, nearly 4500 people lose their lives to TB and close to 30,000 people fall ill with this preventable and curable disease. Global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 54 million lives since the year 2000 and reduced the TB mortality rate by 42%. To accelerate the TB response in countries to reach targets – Heads of State came together and made strong commitments to end TB at the first-ever UN High Level Meeting in September 2018.

The theme of World TB Day 2019 – ‘It’s time’ – puts the accent on the urgency to act on the commitments made by global leaders to:

  • scale up access to prevention and treatment;
  • build accountability;
  • ensure sufficient and sustainable financing including for research;
  • promote an end to stigma and discrimination, and
  • promote an equitable, rights-based and people-centered TB response.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a joint initiative “Find. Treat. All. #EndTB” with the Global Fund and Stop TB Partnership, with the aim of accelerating the TB response and ensuring access to care, in line with WHO’s overall drive towards Universal Health Coverage.

This World TB Day, WHO calls on governments, affected communities, civil society organizations, health-care providers, and national/international partners to unite forces under the banner “Find. Treat. All. #EndTB” to ensure no one is left behind.

The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare commemorated the World TB Day with a function to mark the occasion, and reiterated the commitment to eliminating TB in the country by 2025. Ms. Preeti Sudan, Health Secretary presided over the function. She stressed on the importance of more sensitive and responsive doctors, paramedics, frontline health workers and community partners, while dealing with TB patients. The systems of care for TB patients should be patient –centric, and sympathetic to their wellbeing, she emphasised. She stated that India has been able to free of Polio, Yaws, MNTE due to the sturdy health systems, especially at the primary healthcare levels. She stated that partnerships with all stakeholders hold the key to making India TB-free.

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