“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,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, in celebration of the World Tuberculosis (TB) Day on March 24.
Tuberculosis is a widespread infectious disease which can be transmitted through coughing, sneezing or respiratory fluid transmission. Among the symptoms are chronic cough with blood-stained mucus, fever, night sweats and weight loss.
In 2013, 9 million people were diagnosed with TB. There are also 1.5 million TB-related deaths each year.
To end the global epidemic, WHO is calling for “global solidarity and action” to support the “End TB Strategy" which was adopted during the World Health Assembly in 2014.
The new 20-year TB elimination strategy focuses on three key areas: integrated patient-centered TB care and prevention, bold policies and supportive systems, and intensified research and innovation. It targeted 95% TB death reduction and 90% cases decrease by 2035, including the elimination of heavy medical and non-medical costs for TB patients and their families by 2020.
According to Dr. Eric Goosby, appointed United Nations (UN) Special Envoy on TB, the progress in fighting TB should be intensified in order to remove the disease. “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,” he encouraged.
WHO also called for persistent funds, accelerated research and innovation in basic science, new action frameworks and people mobilization to reach their global targets.
“2015 is seen as a critical year for action to adapt and roll out the strategy in diverse country settings. Achieving success for the strategy will require the TB community around the world to work together to leverage alliances and resources,” WHO emphasized.
Further details about the End TB Strategy are available at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/end-tb/en/. ■