Message of the Regional Director on the Occasion of World Tuberculosis Day 2014

Submitted by dinara on Mon, 17/07/2017 - 16:23

Today, 24th of March 2014, the African Region joins the global community to commemorate World Tuberculosis Day under the theme - “Reach the three million; Find, Treat, Cure TB”. The theme highlights the suffering that Tuberculosis (TB) continues to exert on people, despite the fact that effective control measures are available.

Every year nine million people globally get sick with TB. Unfortunately a third of them do not get the TB services that they deserve. Most of these three million people live in the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities, including those in the African Region.

TB is curable but it remains a major public health problem. It is estimated that TB killed over half a million people in the Region last year. The threat of drug-resistant TB and multi-drug resistant TB continues to be a serious problem complicating TB treatment.

It should be noted that the TB epidemic in Africa is largely fuelled by poverty and the simultaneous infection with HIV. Poor people living with HIV are more likely than others to become sick with TB.

Countries in the Region are making efforts to cope with the challenges. According to the 2013 Global Tuberculosis Report, 55% of notified TB patients who tested positive for HIV in the Region also received WHO recommended antiretroviral treatment (ART).

On a positive note, the rising trend of TB cases has been halted and continues to decline as treatment success rate improves. Equally, the death rate as well as the number of people who fail to complete their TB treatment continues to decline.

However, there is no room for complacency, and countries should continue to intensify efforts to fight HIV which is an important contributor to the TB epidemic. To reach the missing patients and move towards eliminating TB we will need to scale up TB interventions such as, DOTS and TB/HIV collaborative activities among others, especially for the most vulnerable groups. TB prevention and control activities should be targeted at areas such as slums, prisons and mines.

No one should be left behind in the fight against this scourge. As we commemorate World TB Day, we call for a global effort to find, treat and cure the three million missing TB cases and accelerate progress towards TB prevention and control.

Thank you