World TB Day is commemorated on March 24 each year to build public awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis (TB) and efforts to eliminate the disease.
For World TB Day 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) calls on governments, communities, civil society, and the private sector to “Unite to End TB“. WHO and partners are promoting dialogue and collaboration that unites individuals and communities in new ways to end the tuberculosis (TB) epidemic. These efforts cut across disciplines and sectors, and can help accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals overall by contributing to other areas including poverty elimination, universal health coverage, maternal and child health, social protection and justice.
Concerns have been raised on inadequate awareness on the disease on account of its link to the poor and marginalised, which have no access to basic health services, good nutrition and inadequate living conditions; all of which contribute to the spread of the disease.
In retrospect, Nigeria has the fourth highest annual number of TB cases in the world and thus cannot get ahead of this by passive detection of TB as is currently the case. Research shows that intensified case finding combined with capacity building, provision of work guidelines, and TB health education can improve TB notification.
The World Health Organization’s End TB Strategy envisions a world free of TB with zero deaths, disease and suffering. It sets targets and outlines actions for governments and partners to provide patient-centred care, pursue policies and systems that enable prevention and care, and drive research and innovations needed to end the epidemic and eliminate TB.
The clarion call has been made: every country is judged by how it treats it’s most vulnerable; it is time for us to stand up for ours. We can #EndTB, but we must reach the weakest!