WHO encourages worldwide elimination of TB
While experts estimate that more than 37 million lives have been saved during the recent years' fight against TB, there still remains much to be done to eliminate the virus. Nine million people contracted TB in 2013, 1.5 million people die from TB every year, and 500,000 people have a multi-drug resistant strain of TB.
“This is a matter of social justice, fundamental to our goal of universal health coverage,” WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said. “Each and every man, woman or child with TB should have equal, unhindered access to the innovative tools and services they need for rapid diagnosis, treatment and care.”
WHO's new End TB Strategy was officially adopted by governments at the World Health Assembly in 2014. The strategy ambitiously targets three areas: bold policies and supportive systems; integrated patient-centered TB care and prevention for everyone in need; and intensified innovation and research.
“The progress that has been made in combating TB has been hard won and must be intensified if we are to wipe out the TB epidemic,” United Nations Special Envoy on TB Eric Goosby said. “The End TB Strategy offers new hope to the millions of people suffering and losing their lives to TB each year. It is time to join forces to create a world free of TB.”
TB is devastating for communities and economies. The illness can reduce a family’s yearly income by a 50 percent average, which exacerbates existing socio-economic inequalities.
“This World TB Day should serve to alert and mobilize as many people as possible to end the epidemic,” WHO Global TB Program Director Mario Raviglione said. “We must work with innovators in health, development, civil society and the private sector to end the burden of this preventable disease.”