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How to cite this article: Shenoy B. Editorial. Karnataka Paediatr J 2022;37:1-2.
Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the world’s deadliest infectious killers. As per the WHO, every day, over 4100 people lose their lives to TB and about 28,000 people fall ill with this disease. Deaths from TB have risen in 2020 for the 1st time in more than a decade. According to the WHO, in 2020, around 9,900,000 people fell ill with TB and died, around 1,500,000. Since 2000 year, 66,000,000 lives have been saved by efforts taken globally to end TB. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has reversed years of progress made in the fight to end TB. For the 1st time in over a decade, TB deaths increased in 2020. Despite significant progress over the past decades, TB continues to be the ninth leading cause of death worldwide.
Faced with these challenges, centers for disease control (CDC) and its partners have proven resilient and adapted services to sustain TB screening and treatment activities. CDC leads a state-of-the-art national TB program and conducts clinical trials and epidemiologic research that contributes to new diagnostics, treatments, and approaches for eliminating TB. This year, CDC published guidance for a new treatment regimen for extensively drug-resistant TB disease and a shorter 4-month regimen to treat drug-susceptible TB disease.
World TB Day is observed on 24 March to spread awareness about the disastrous health, social and economic consequences of TB and to take efforts to end the TB epidemic globally. World TB Day is celebrated to educate people around the world about the disease TB and its impact. The date marks the day in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacterium that causes TB, which opened the way toward diagnosing and curing this disease.
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 that has put End TB progress at risk and to ensure equitable access to prevention and care in line with the WHO’s drive toward achieving Universal Health Coverage. More investment will save millions more lives, accelerating the end of the TB epidemic.
The theme of World TB Day 2021 was “The Clock is Ticking.” It focuses that the world is running out of time to act on the commitments to end TB made by the global leaders. The theme of World TB Day 2020 was “It’s TIME.” It is time to test and treat latent TB infections. It is time to educate and strengthen people regarding TB and spread awareness among healthcare providers. As it is said, for latent TB infection treatment is necessary to control and eliminate it. Furthermore, it is time to speak up. CDC’s TB Personal Stories series tell the experiences of people diagnosed with latent TB infection and TB disease. CDC and several other organisations are working toward it. Further, the theme focuses that it’s time to end the stigma that is the stigma associated with TB disease may also place certain populations at higher risk. Stigma may make people take medical care or follow-up care for TB. TB can get anyone and TB people are found in every state, workplace, etc.
On this day in 1882, Dr. Robert Koch announced the discovery of a Mycobacterium tuberculosis that causes TB and his discovery opened the way toward diagnosing and curing this disease. We can not ignore that TB remains the world’s deadliest infectious killer. Heads of State for the 1st time in 2018 came together to accelerate the response to TB in countries to reach targets and made commitments to end TB in the UN High-Level Meeting in September 2018.
National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme – previously called RNTCP is a programme for the prevention and control of TB in-country by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. It has integrated four strategic pillars of “Detect – Treat – Prevent – Build” under the National Strategic Plan 2017–2025 for moving toward TB elimination by 2025. “Call to eliminate TB, by 2025 – 5 years in advance of the goals unanimously adopted by the UN General Assembly as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Global efforts continue to focus on strengthening national TB strategies in priority countries with high rates of TB, drug-resistant TB, and TB/HIV coinfection. To sustain and expand TB activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, CDC adapted TB screening and treatment services, incorporating digital care strategies, multi-month dispensing of medicines, and services designed for individual community needs.
COVID-19 setbacks highlight the fragility of hard-won gains made recently toward global TB elimination targets. Unless TB prevention and treatment efforts are intensified, the United Nations’ TB targets of treating 40 million people and providing TB preventative treatment to 30 million people will likely remain out of reach. However, we have also learned a lot over the past few years – to innovate, adapt and act boldly and decisively. By applying these lessons learned, we can make progress toward these global goals.
Timely diagnosis of TB disease saves lives and prevents the spread of TB in our communities. We must regain the momentum lost due to COVID-19 and accelerate progress in saving lives, reaching global TB targets, ensuring equitable access to TB services and achieving our goal of eliminating TB. We should work together to eliminate TB in the country and around the world.