Marked annually on 24th March, World Tuberculosis Day is an occasion to mobilize commitment from all relevant sectors and shareholders for further progress towards the elimination of TB.
According to the World Health Organisation, “Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that most often affect the lungs. Tuberculosis is curable and preventable. Since 2000, 53 million lives have been saved through effective diagnosis and treatment. Active, drug-sensitive TB disease is treated with a standard 6-month course of 4 antimicrobial drugs that are provided with information, supervision and support to the patient by a health worker or trained volunteer. The vast majority of TB cases can be cured when medicines are provided and taken properly.”
The theme for the 2018 World Tuberculosis Day is ‘Wanted: Leaders for a TB-Free World. You can make history. End TB’. The theme focuses on building commitment to end TB on all levels. From the president, to the CS of the Ministry of Health, to people affected by TB; everyone can be a leader in the fight against TB.
In 2017, the National TB Prevalence Survey was released. The findings showed a higher TB burden in Kenya than had been previously thought. The survey showed that there are 558 people with TB among 100,000 people in the country. The survey also revealed that TB was found to be higher among men aged between 25 and 34 years and women over 65 year. The survey further highlighted that 40% of TB cases in the country go undetected and untreated contributing to the spread of the disease.
In September of this year, the United Nations General Assembly will hold a first of its kind high level meeting on TB. The aim is to accelerate efforts to end TB which kills over 4500 people daily.
The world is asked to turn red in order to shine a light on the devastation caused by TB. Cities across the globe are urged to light up their landmarks red to mark World Tuberculosis day. On a smaller scale, we can each light a red candle on the 24th to show our support.