World Tuberculosis (TB) Day, which falls on March 24 every year, aims to raise public awareness about tuberculosis, a preventable disease. Tuberculosis is still an epidemic in many regions of the world, annihilating the lives of many millions of people each year. Each year, over nine million people around the world get infected with TB and almost two million TB related deaths are recorded worldwide. The actual figures must be far larger than this.
For World TB Day 2011, we enter the second year of a two-year campaign - “On the move against tuberculosis”. The campaign aims to inspire innovation in TB research and care. The 2011 World TB Day campaign is focused on individuals around the world who have found new ways to stop TB and can serve as an inspiration to others. The basic idea is to recognise people who have introduced a variety of innovations in a variety of settings. The objectives of TB day are listed below:-
- Research aimed at developing new diagnostics, drugs or vaccines
- Operational research, aimed at making TB care more effective and efficient
- New approaches to helping people gain access to TB diagnosis and treatment
- Novel partnerships between actors in the fight against TB
- Advances in integrating TB care into health systems
- New approaches to providing support from members of the community to people affected by TB
- Innovative ways of raising awareness about TB.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), here are some interesting facts about tuberculosis.
Fact 1 - Tuberculosis is contagious and spreads through air. If not treated, each person with active TB can infect on average 10 to 15 people a year.
Fact 2 - More than two billion people, equal to one third of the world’s total population, are infected with TB bacilli, the microbes that cause TB. One in every 10 of those people will become sick with active TB in his or her lifetime. People living with HIV are at a much higher risk.
Fact 3 - A total of 1.7 million people died from TB in 2009 (including 3, 80,000 people with HIV), equal to about 4,700 deaths a day. TB is a disease of poverty, affecting mostly young adults in their most productive years. The vast majority of TB deaths are in the developing world, with more than half occurring in Asia.
Fact 4 - TB is a leading killer among people living with HIV, who have weakened immune systems.
Fact 5 - There were 9.4 million new TB cases in 2009, of which 80% were in just 22 countries. Per capita, the global TB incidence rate is falling, but the rate of decline is very slow - less than 1%.
Fact 6 - TB is a worldwide pandemic. Among the 15 countries with the highest estimated TB incidence rates, 13 are in Africa, while a third of all new cases are in India and China.
Fact 7 - Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) is a form of TB that does not respond to the standard treatments using first-line drugs. MDR-TB is present in virtually all countries surveyed by WHO and its partners.
Fact 8 - There were an estimated 4, 40,000 new MDR-TB cases in 2008 with three countries accounting for over 50% of all cases globally - China, India and the Russian Federation. Extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) occurs when resistance to second-line drugs develops. It is extremely difficult to treat and cases have been confirmed in more than 58 countries.
Fact 9 - The world is on track to achieve two TB targets set for 2015:
- Millennium Development Goal, which aims to halt and reverse global incidence (in comparison with 1990); and
- Stop TB Partnership target of halving deaths from TB (also in comparison with 1990).
Fact 10 – Forty one million TB patients have been successfully treated in DOTS programmes and up to 6 million lives saved since 1995, 5 million more lives could be saved between now and 2015 by fully funding and implementing The Global Plan to Stop TB 2011-2015.
(Adapted from WHO website)