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World TB Day
Urgent, unified action must to eradicate TB
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 23
“TB anywhere is TB everywhere” is the theme for World TB Day (March 24) this year, offering a message of urgency and shared responsibility. Only through a unified action on all levels it will be possible to have a world finally free of tuberculosis.

Head of paediatrics in the ESIC Model Hospital Dr Rajinder Gulati, “The theme emphasises that although TB is a preventable and curable disease, it remains a global emergency. It also reflects the chronically inadequate investment in TB control, surveillance, research and development as well as TB’s deadly synergy with HIV”.

He remarked that the theme for this year was an attempt to address the challenges to TB control programme that affected TB control progress on a global scale. Achieving the TB-focused targets of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals depended on effectively raising and addressing country-level challenges through a unified global campaign.

“In 2007, the World Health Organisation will report on whether the 2005 global TB control targets of 70 per cent case detection and 85 per cent treatment success have been achieved. Fifty countries reportedly have met the 70 per cent detection target and approximately 25 countries have met both targets. This success represents a major landmark in TB control history and proves that TB control is effective, even in countries with limited resources”.

Dr Gulati commented that the predicted global average treatment success rate of 84 per cent in 2005 was undeniably good, and the case detection rate was likely to be 60 per cent in 2005. However, 2 million or so active TB cases that occurred each year were being missed. To help overcome the challenges that kept TB a global threat, there was an urgent need to push for full funding of the global plan to stop TB (2006-2015) and work for the implementation of the ‘Stop TB Strategy’.

He said it was time for all governments and the donor community to meet their full responsibility to stop TB, and for decision-makers to stand alongside people and communities affected by TB. “World TB Day theme includes a number of supporting messages, which are designed to emphasise the importance of improved financial contributions to TB control, community involvement, scale up of donor investment, and the need for decision-makers to protect communities from the threat of extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) and HIV-related TB”. 

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