World TB day 2017: Advocating for a world without TB

World TB day on 24 March hopes to highlight the global burden of Tuberculosis (TB) and the priorities of future research.  Although TB incidence has fallen by an average of 1.5% per year since 2000, TB is still one of the top ten causes of death worldwide. Over 95% of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. In 2015, an estimated 480,000 people globally developed multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB).

Ending the TB epidemic by 2030 is one of the health targets of the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals. However, the measures required to achieving this aim are ambitious and expensive. According to the WHO, success will depend on three strategic pillars that need to be put in place to effectively end the epidemic, including integrated patient-centred care and prevention, bold policies and supportive systems as well as intensified research and innovation.

World TB Day provides the platform for policy makers, patients, communities, civil society organizations, health-care providers, and others to advocate, discuss and plan further initiatives to reduce TB deaths worldwide and achieve a significant decline in TB incidence.

2017 is the second year of a two-year "Unite to End TB" campaign for World TB Day. This year, WHO has placed a special focus on uniting efforts to "Leave No One Behind", including actions to address stigma, discrimination, marginalization and overcome barriers to access care.

To raise awareness and to show commitment towards ending TB, the StopTB partnership, an international initiative advocating for TB prevention, treatment and research, has called upon the cities of the world to illuminate their landmarks in red on the occasion of World TB day 2017 as part of a global challenge entitled "Light up the World for TB". 31 cities in 13 countries have met the request, including Geneva, Toronto, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro.

World TB day is a strong reminder that TB is still an active threat and the world needs new innovations to prevent and treat it. Global funders are called upon to invest more in research to ensure that improved diagnostics, treatments, vaccines and public health measures, which are required to end TB, can be developed.

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