This Friday March 24th, marks World Tuberculosis Day. Ahead of the commemoration of the day, WHO Regional Director for Africa is appealing to all to join the campaign to end TB – a curable, infectious, yet deadly disease.
In a televised message Dr Matsidiso Moeti reads “WHO estimates that there were a staggering 10.4 million new cases of TB around the world last year.
Over 4 million of them were not diagnosed – and about a quarter of these were from the African Region.
In Africa, we know that 1.3 million people were diagnosed with TB in 2015.
And our Region is facing a growing problem of drug-resistant TB–when the usual drugs don’t work anymore -which is very expensive to treat. Nearly 27 thousand drug resistant cases were reported in 2015 alone. Only 70% of them accessed treatment.
Only about half the people with drug-resistant TB started on treatment are cured.
People are being left behind.
Especially vulnerable populations …those living in poverty, the elderly, women and children on the sidelines of society…and those whose work settings puts them at risk, like miners.
The good news is that we have the medicines and new technologies to detect, treat and cure TB.
In Africa, we’re working smarter, using digital technologies like telemedicine and mobile phones to speed up diagnosis, and track patients who don’t show up for appointments.
This World TB Day, the World Health Organization wants to make sure that everyone who needs TB treatment and care… gets it …especially children.
That everyone who gets TB treatment …takes it. And that everyone who offers treatment, care and support… makes sure that no one is left behind. This means acting against stigma, discrimination and barriers to care. The world is on a mission to end TB in our lifetime.
Working together, we can tackle this deadly disease. Working together, we can unite to End TB …and make sure that no one is left behind.”
On 24 March 2017, Ghana will join the rest of the international community to commemorate the World Tuberculosis Day. The theme for this year is “Unite to End TB”, the same as that of last year but with a special focus on “Leaving no one behind” in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
TB is still one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. While the number of TB cases is declining globally, there were a staggering 10.4 million new TB cases estimated in 2015. Over a third of these are still not diagnosed and treated, or are diagnosed but not registered by national TB control programmes.
Every fourth new TB case is from Africa, which has 16 of the top 30 countries with the highest TB burden. Every third case of HIV-associated TB is from the Region, with 81% of notified TB patients knowing their HIV status.