World TB Day, which falls on 24 March each year, is designed to build public awareness that tuberculosis remains an epidemic in much of the world. While TB was surpassed by COVID-19 as the world’s deadliest infectious disease, the disease still kills around 1.5 million people annually.
This year, the theme of World TB Day 2022 – ‘Invest to End TB. Save Lives’ – conveys the urgent need to invest resources to ramp up the fight against TB and achieve the commitments to end TB made by global leaders. This is especially critical in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has put the WHO’s ‘End TB’ progress at risk.
WHO’s ‘End TB Strategy’, adopted by the World Health Assembly in 2014, aims to end the global TB epidemic as part of the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals. It serves as a blueprint for countries to reduce TB incidence by 80%, TB deaths by 90%, and to eliminate catastrophic costs for TB-affected households by 2030.
However, according to the WHO Global TB report (published in October 2021), the COVID-19 pandemic has reversed years of global progress in tackling tuberculosis. For the first time in over a decade, TB deaths increased – mainly in the 30 countries with the highest burden of TB.
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