World Tuberculosis Day 2023: History, significance, and theme
Every year on March 24, the world unites to observe World Tuberculosis Day. This global event is a crucial opportunity to raise awareness about the devastating impact of tuberculosis (TB) and to call for urgent action to prevent and treat this ongoing health crisis. Here's more about the history, significance, and this year's theme of World Tuberculosis Day.
What is Tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. This bacteria primarily targets the lungs, but it can also affect other organs, including the brain, spine, and kidneys. The disease is spread through the air when an infected person sneezes, coughs, exhales, or speaks. Despite being preventable and treatable, TB remains a significant issue for public health worldwide.
World Tuberculosis Day is observed in remembrance of the historic day in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch proclaimed his discovery of the tuberculosis-causing bacterium. This breakthrough proved to be a momentous achievement in the battle against TB, which was a leading cause of death in Europe during that period. For his discovery, he was awarded the Noble Prize in Medicine in 1905.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), TB is one of the top 10 causes of death globally. As per WHO, a total of 1.6 million people died from TB in the year 2021. World Tuberculosis Day serves as a reminder of the urgent need to address this global health challenge and to work towards achieving the goal of ending the TB epidemic.
The theme of this year
The theme for this year's World Tuberculosis Day is "Yes! We can end TB!" and it aims to mobilize global leaders towards taking action to stop the TB epidemic. The theme emphasizes the importance of critical elements such as increased funding, prompt response, cooperation across various sectors, rapid implementation of new WHO guidelines, and inventive strategies to eradicate tuberculosis.
What are India's plans?
Eliminating Tuberculosis by 2030 is one of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN established globally. However, India has set an even more ambitious target of achieving this goal by 2025. The National Strategic Plan 2017-2025 for TB elimination in India has set a target of no more than 44 new TB cases or a total of 65 cases per lakh population by 2025.