March 24 Is World TB Day


March 24 is World TB Day, an opportunity to raise awareness about tuberculosis (TB) and the need for expanded testing and treatment worldwide. The World Health Organization's theme for 2016 is "Unite to End Tuberculosis". Ending TB by 2030 is a target of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.


The WHO estimates that 9.6 million people worldwide became ill with TB and 1.5 million died from the disease in 2014, including 380,000 people living with HIV; globally, an estimated 480,000 people developed multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). More than 95% of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, and 1 in 3 deaths among people with HIV are due to TB. However, the TB death rate has fallen by nearly 50% since 1990.

"While there has been significant progress in the fight against TB, with 43 million lives saved since 2000, the battle is only half-won: over 4000 people lose their lives each day to this leading infectious disease," according to a WHO World TB Day statement. "Many of the communities that are most burdened by tuberculosis are those that are poor, vulnerable and marginalized." But momentum is growing at the country and community levels, including in the 30 countries with the highest TB burden -- which together account for over 85% of the total global burden.

"TB disproportionately affects the poorest and most vulnerable, the socially marginalized, and those lacking access to basic services/health services," added UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. "Therefore, progress in ending TB must go hand in hand with other Sustainable Development Goal efforts to reduce inequalities, eliminate extreme poverty, ensure social protection, achieve universal health coverage and end HIV/AIDS."

"We need to eliminate stigma and ensure all affected people have access to care," Ban continued. "And we need to be ready to keep people healthy in the face of complex emergencies and unprecedented movements of refugees and migrants worldwide."



World Health Organization. WHO calls on countries and partners to "Unite to End Tuberculosis." World TB Day statement. March 22, 2016.

United Nations. Secretary-General, in Message for World Tuberculosis Day, Says Total Victory over Epidemic Will Require United Front. Press release. March 22, 2016.