World TB Day 2021 | The Clock is Ticking. Each year, we celebrate 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 can affect anyone anywhere, but most people who develop the disease are adults, there are more cases
among men than women, and 30 high TB burden countries account for almost 90% of those who fall sick with TB each year. TB is a disease of poverty, and economic distress, vulnerability, marginalization, stigma and discrimination are often faced by people affected by TB. TB is curable and preventable. About 85% of people who develop TB disease can be successfully treated with a 6-month drug regimen; treatment has the additional benefit of curtailing onward transmission of infection.
Since 2000, TB treatment has averted more than 60 million deaths, although with access still falling short of universal health coverage (UHC), many millions have also missed out on diagnosis and care. Preventive treatment is available for people with TB infection. The number of people developing infection and disease (and thus the number of deaths) can also be reduced through multisectoral action to address TB determinants such as poverty, undernutrition, HIV infection, smoking and diabetes. Research breakthroughs (e.g. a new vaccine) are needed to rapidly reduce TB incidence worldwide to the levels already achieved in low-burden countries, where TB is often regarded as a disease of the past.
Burden of TB | World TB Day 2021 | The Clock is Ticking
- A total of 1.4 million people died from TB in 2019 (including 208 000 people with HIV). Worldwide, TB is one of the top 10 causes of death and the leading cause from a single infectious agent (above HIV/AIDS).
- In 2019, an estimated 10 million people fell ill with tuberculosis(TB) worldwide. 5.6 million men, 3.2 million women and 1.2 million children. TB is present in all countries and age groups. But TB is curable and preventable.
- In 2019, 1.2 million children fell ill with TB globally. Child and adolescent TB is often overlooked by health providers and can be difficult to diagnose and treat.
- In 2019, the 30 high TB burden countries accounted for 87% of new TB cases. Eight countries account for two thirds of the total, with India leading the count, followed by Indonesia, China, the Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh and South Africa.
- Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) remains a public health crisis and a health security threat. A global total of 206 030 people with multidrug- or rifampicin-resistant TB (MDR/RR-TB) were detected and notified in 2019, a 10% increase from 186 883 in 2018.
- Globally, TB incidence is falling at about 2% per year and between 2015 and 2019 the cumulative reduction was 9%. This was less than half way to the End TB Strategy milestone of 20% reduction between 2015 and 2020.
- An estimated 60 million lives were saved through TB diagnosis and treatment between 2000 and 2019.
- Ending the TB epidemic by 2030 is among the health targets of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Globally, an estimated 10.0 million (range, 8.9–11.0 million) people fell ill with TB in 2019, a number that has been declining very slowly in recent years. There were an estimated 1.2 million (range, 1.1– 1.3 million) TB deaths among HIV-negative people in 2019 (a reduction from 1.7 million in 2000), and an additional 208 000 deaths (range, 177 000–242 000)6 among HIV-positive people (a reduction from 678 000 in 2000). Men (aged ≥15 years) accounted for 56% of the people who developed TB in 2019; women accounted for 32% and children (aged <15 years) for 12%. Among all those affected, 8.2% were people living with HIV.
The theme of World TB Day 2021 – ‘The Clock is Ticking’ –conveys the sense that the world is running out of time to act on the commitments to end TB made by global leaders. This is especially critical in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic that has put End TB progress at risk, and to ensure equitable access to prevention and care in line with WHO’s drive towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.
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Hey there, I am Nirdesh Baral, founder of Nepal Health Magazine. I am a Tech geek by passion , Public health practitioner by profession and an Ailurophile by heart.