World TB Day
What’s next in our fight to #EndTB?
This year’s World TB Day theme, from the Stop TB Partnership, is “Yes! We Can End TB”. It is a theme that brings hope and highlights the exceptional work being done all over the world to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and get TB eradication back on track.
- Yes! We Can End TB by ensuring the same kind of funding and actions for the development of new diagnostics, treatments and vaccines as we did for COVID-19
- Yes! We Can End TB by scaling up TB infection testing and preventive treatment, prioritizing contacts and other eligible groups of people
- Yes! We Can End TB by investing $5 billion annually to accelerate the R&D of new diagnostics, medicines and vaccines
Dr. James Utley, Chief Scientist at MDX Labs, explains the changes or improvements in TB testing, treatment and care that will help the United States contribute to the global End TB Strategy.
In 2023, what do you think is the biggest challenge that faces those of us trying to end the global epidemic of TB?
“Awareness and complacency among the general public. Awareness that TB is, in fact, still an epidemic and cases are likely found in most U.S. cities. Complacency is also an issue. People tend to ignore the disease because they have heard a bit about it for so many years, yet they may not have been personally affected or infected. They may not see the disease as a true threat.”
3 years on from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, is there still an impact on TB and how is that affecting our ability to end TB?
“It’s quite possible COVID may have had an impact on the willingness of the public to be concerned about public health issues. Controversies over mask-wearing, public health precautions and the general disruptions to the ‘normal’ routine are still fresh in the mind of many. This likely has an impact on the willingness of the public to accept the perceived threat of TB and the accommodations or precautions they are willing to entertain to stop the spread of the disease.”
What changes or improvements in TB testing, treatment or care would you like to see that would help to tackle TB?
“To truly eradicate the disease, every health care provider should be talking to patients about TB. There should be a screening protocol that every patient goes through with their doctor to bring greater awareness of the disease and to screen for possible symptoms. In addition, taking a TB test should be as easy and available as taking someone’s temperature and often, the follow on care needed to manage TB cases is not available especially to those who need it the most.”
According to the World Health Organization, 66 million lives have been saved by global efforts to #EndTB
This is Tenzin’s story
On this World TB Day, we honor TB survivors by amplifying their personal stories and echoing the call worldwide for early and accurate TB diagnosis.
Now that his TB experiences are behind him, Tenzin shares his story to help raise awareness about TB to address stigma.