On March 24, 2008, we will celebrate World TB Day. This is spearheaded by the Stop TB Partnership, a network of more then 500 international organizations, countries, donors from the public and private sectors, and nongovernmental and governmental organizations that have expressed an interest in working together to achieve the goal of eliminating tuberculosis as a public health problem and ultimately to realize a world free of TB.
I Am Stopping TB is more than a slogan. It is the start of a two-year campaign that belongs to people everywhere who are doing their part to Stop TB.
This year’s World TB Day is about celebrating the lives and stories of people affected by TB: women, men and children who have taken TB treatment; nurses; doctors; researchers; community workers — anyone who has contributed towards the global fight against TB.
1. We are making progress on TB. In 2005 the rate of new cases of TB worldwide leveled off for the first time since the World Health Organization began collecting data about the disease. And the rate at which TB is detected has doubled since 2000.
2. Everyone can do something to stop TB, and every individual’s action counts. In 2008 we will celebrate the actions of people all over the world joining forces to stop TB.
3. Despite recent progress, TB remains a massive global public health problem, with nearly 9 million new cases and more than a million-and-a-half deaths each year. Greater commitment by governments to fighting TB in their countries is needed now. So is greater commitment by donors to finance TB care and research into new drugs, new diagnostics and new vaccines.
4. There is now evidence that that countries most heavily affected by TB can reap on average a 10-fold return on investments in TB diagnosis and treatment, on condition that they implement the Stop TB Partnership’s Global Plan to Stop TB. The Plan sets out a roadmap for confronting the disease over the next eight years. Human suffering was reason enough to fight TB — now we know that addressing the disease can help stop poverty too.
5. We will never eliminate TB without new and more effective drugs, diagnostics and vaccines. Today’s most commonly used TB diagnostic, sputum microscopy, is more than 100 years old and lacks sensitivity. Today’s TB drugs are more than 40 years old and must be taken for six to nine months. Today’s TB vaccine, which is more than 85 years old, provides some protection against severe forms of TB in children but is unreliable against pulmonary TB. Simpler, faster drug regimens that treat all forms of TB; rapid, more accurate diagnostic tools to quickly detect TB; and a vaccine that will be effective in preventing TB in people of all ages are urgently needed.
Source: Stop TB Partnership