World Tuberculosis Day, observed on 24 March each year, is designed to build public awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis and efforts to eliminate the disease. In 2012, 8.6 million people fell ill with TB, and 1.3 million died from the disease, mostly in low and middle-income countries.
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;
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.