World Tuberculosis Day, or World TB Day, serves the purpose of raising awareness of the worldwide burden of TB along with the status of its prevention and control efforts.
This day is important because of the fact that out of the 9 million people who get sick with Tuberculosis each year, 3 million of them do not receive the healthcare needed to treat the sickness. How can we let this happen when we know it can be cured?
As tomorrow, March 24th, is World TB Day 2014, WHO and the Stop TB Partnership will be giving their best effort to “Reach the 3 Million.” They will be influencing not only the affected persons and their communities, but also government civil society organizations, healthcare providers, and international partners all to come together and take action.
First of all, what even is TB? Well, Tuberculosis is a disease that often affects the lungs and is caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. While it is curable and preventable, it is also extremely contagious. It is spread through the air and by simply breathing in a few TB germs from an infectious person’s cough or sneeze will let you become infected as well. Interestingly enough, about one third of our world’s population has been infected by TB bacteria but are not yet ill with the disease; this is called latent TB. The low- to middle-income countries are at the highest risk of being infected, consuming 95% of TB deaths. People who are co-infected with HIV and TB are 21 to 34 times more likely to become sick with TB.
But there is action to be taken! According to their website, WHO pursues six core functions in addressing Tuberculosis:
- Provide global leadership on matters critical to TB.
- Develop evidence-based policies, strategies and standards for TB prevention, care and control, and monitor their implementation.
- Provide technical support to Member States, catalyze change, and build sustainable capacity.
- Monitor the global TB situation, and measure progress in TB care, control, and financing.
- Shape the TB research agenda and stimulate the production, translation and dissemination of valuable knowledge.
- Facilitate and engage in partnerships for TB action.
For more information on the action and strategies that tomorrow will entail, visit http://www.who.int/tb/strategy/en/.
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