World TB Day: Fight against TB has to be more precise
24th March is recognized as World TB Day. This year the theme is ‘Invest to End TB. Save Lives’ to convey the urgent need to invest resources to ramp up the fight against TB and achieve the commitments to end the endemic. World TB day is a global health awareness program focusing on efforts to eliminate TB worldwide. As TB represents a health problem both at the international and local levels, the world observes 24th of March every year as the World TB Day. On March 24 the bacillus that causes the disease of Tuberculosis was discovered. The date marks the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacterium that causes TB.TB is the world’s deadliest infectious killer. Every second, a new person contracts TB worldwide and more than two million people annually die because of this disease. It is a day to educate the public about the impact of TB around the world and to share successes in TB prevention and control and raise awareness of the challenges that hinder our progress towards the elimination of this devastating disease. As COVID-19 continues to have an impact on everyday life around the globe, the TB community should stay safe and healthy. Essential TB services should be sustained during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that gains made in the fight against TB are not reversed. WHO has developed an advocacy and communications package to support awareness building and drive action across all levels, in the lead up to and on World TB Day.TB is spread from person to person through the air. When people with TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air. TB remains the world’s deadliest infectious killer. Every day over 4000 people lose their lives to TB and close to 30,000 people fall ill with this preventable and curable disease. The Government of India has committed to eliminate the prevalence of TB by 2025, with commensurate resources to rapidly reduce TB incidence prevalence and mortality in the country. B infection, also known as passive TB or TB infection is not contagious. It can become active TB, so treatment is vital for an individual with hidden TB and helps to regulate the spread of TB. It is estimated that about 2 billion people are hidden. A healthy immune system often fights with TB bacteria, but if one’s immunity is low, then one’s body is unable to increase effective immunity. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is implementing the National Strategic Plan (NSP) for Tuberculosis Elimination (2017-2025). TB is an airborne disease that has a devastating effect on lungs causing fatigue, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. It can have an impact on other body parts too including kidneys, brain, and spine. BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin) is the vaccine recommended for babies against TB.Ending TB requires concerted action by all sectors to provide the right services, support and enabling safe environment in the right place, at the right time. Everyone has a role to play in ending TB – individuals, communities, businesses, governments and societies. On this World TB Day, we stand with our global health partners in our firm resolve to end TB. Let us prevent the spread of this disease through disseminating health awareness in the community and providing treatment for TB patients free of charge which is direly needed in India.
(The author is a columnist and hails from Jodhpur Tekra Ahmedabad)