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World TB Day ’’It’s time for action!“

Each year, we remember World Tuberculosis (TB) Day on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to the society towards end TB as the global public health problem.

TB remains the world’s deadliest infectious killer. Each day, nearly 4500 people lose their lives to TB and close to 30,000 people fall ill with this preventable and curable disease. Global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 54 million lives since the year 2000 and reduced the TB mortality rate by 42%.

Theme of the World TB Day 2019 – „It’s time“  puts the accent to the urgent actions towards:

  • Increasing access to TB prevention and treatment;
  • Ensuring sufficient and sustainable financing of TB prevention and control activities, including research;
  • Ending stigma and discrimination;
  • Promoting equitable, rights-based & people-centered TB response based on health and social needs of the patients.

One of the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 is ending global TB epidemic. World Health Organization (WHO) “End TB Strategy” endorsed by World Health Assembly in 2014 calls for a 90% reduction in TB mortality and 80% reduction in TB incidence by 2030, compared to 2016.

New WHO data represents global TB burden higher that previous estimates. Countries need to be more involved in preventing, detecting and treating TB in order to achieve the goals of the “End TB Strategy” over the next 15 years.

The WHO launched a joint initiative to “Find. Treat. All. #STOP TB” with the Global Fund and the STOP TB Partnership to accelerate responses to TB and provide access to treatment, in line with the WHO’s efforts for universal access to healthcare.

Republic of Serbia reports continuous decreasing trend in TB notification rate, from 37 per 100,000 in 2003 to 11 per 100,000 in 2017, the value corresponding to TB rate in the European Union in 2017.

Nevertheless, the persistence of resistant TB forms, the migrant crisis and great socio-economic stratification may influence TB control in our country. Specific challenges are:

  1. TB screening among migrants;
  2. Availability of integrated services for complicated retreatment TB cases, drug-resistant TB, TB/HIV co-infection, cases with comorbidities such as diabetes, alcohol and tobacco dependence, in order to increase the treatment effectiveness;
  3. Limited direct access to anti-TB services and late case detection;
  4. Limited access to innovative second line anti-TB drugs;
  5. Psichosocial support to patients;
  6. PAL (Practical Approach to Lung Health) implementation and more intensively involvement of primary health-care physicians in early detection and treatment monitoring.

The Association “Health Mission” joins the WHO campaign by inviting decision-makers, communities, civil society organizations, health service providers and national / international partners to unite forces to ” Find. Treat. All. #STOP TB “ to ensure that every person has the ability to be quickly diagnosed and treated.

TB Poster Health Mission click for download

Maja Stošić, MD, MPH