WTD 2023 In this blog post, I will share some facts and insights about tuberculosis (TB), one of the oldest and deadliest diseases in human history, and how we can work together to end it by 2030.
TB is a bacterial infection that mainly affects the lungs, but can also spread to other parts of the body.
It is transmitted through the air when a person with active TB coughs, sneezes or speaks.
TB can be cured with a course of antibiotics, but if left untreated, it can be fatal.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), TB is still one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide, killing 1.6 million people in 2021 alone.
About 10.6 million people fell ill with TB in 2021, and an estimated 3 million people did not receive timely diagnosis or treatment. TB also disproportionately affects people living in poverty, malnutrition, overcrowding and poor sanitation conditions.
Moreover, TB is a major threat for people living with HIV/AIDS, who are more likely to develop active TB and die from it.
The good news is that we have made significant progress in fighting TB over the past two decades. Since 2000, global efforts to end TB have saved an estimated 74 million lives and reduced the TB mortality rate by more than 40%.
We have also developed new tools and strategies to prevent, diagnose and treat TB more effectively and efficiently.
For example, WHO has recommended shorter all-oral treatment regimens for drug-resistant TB that are easier to administer and have fewer side effects than previous injectable-based regimens.
However, we still face many challenges and gaps in ending the TB epidemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted essential health services and worsened social determinants of health for people with TB.
The pandemic has also highlighted the need for stronger health systems that can respond to multiple health threats simultaneously and equitably. Furthermore, we need more investments in research and innovation to develop new vaccines, drugs and diagnostics for TB that are more accessible, affordable and adaptable to different contexts.
That is why World Tuberculosis Day 2023 is an important opportunity to raise awareness and mobilize action for ending TB once and for all.
The theme of this year's WTD 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 Transformative progress can be achieved through the implementation of newly recommended strategies by the WHO, embracing innovative approaches, expediting action, and fostering collaborative efforts across multiple sectors.
World Tuberculosis Day 2023
World Tuberculosis Day 2023 also marks a critical year for advancing the global agenda towards ending TB , as there are several high-level opportunities to increase visibility, political commitment, and enhance investments for the TB response.
Heads of State will come together to deliberate on accelerating efforts to end TB at the second UN High-Level Meeting on TB at the General Assembly in September.
The UN High-Level Meeting on TB will be held alongside two other high-level meetings focusing on universal health coverage (UHC)and pandemic preparedness .
There are clear linkages between all three agendas , as ending TB requires ensuring comprehensive and universal care for all people affected by this disease , as well as strengthening health security against emerging infectious diseases .
As we commemorate World Tuberculosis Day on March 24 , let us remember that ending TB is not only a moral obligation, but also a feasible goal . It is our collective responsibility to confront inequalities and put an end to this preventable and curable disease. By working together across sectors , disciplines ,and borders , we can make history by ending TB within our lifetime .
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