What is TB’s impact in the world?
Did you know that tuberculosis (TB) is the leading infectious disease globally? It caused the deaths of 1.6 million people (the population of Adelaide) in 2017.
TB in Australia
Within Australia, an estimated one million people live with the latent (non-infectious) variant of the disease. In fact, 62 per cent of the world’s TB cases are close to home in the Asia Pacific region, including in countries such as Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and the Philippines.
How can TB affect your body?
The crippling illness, transmitted through the air by coughing and sneezing, can affect every organ in the body. Liver failure, brain damage, infection of the covering of the lungs and heart problems are all associated with this completely preventable and curable disease.
Multi-Drug Resistant TB (MDR-TB)
Perhaps even more alarming is the growing epidemic of Multi-Drug Resistant TB (MDR-TB). This variant of the disease can last up to two years and requires an intensive and gruelling chemotherapy regimen to treat. Unfortunately, only 25 per cent of the 558,000 people suffering from drug-resistant TB in 2017 received treatment (WHO Global Tuberculosis Report 2018).
One person with active, untreated TB can spread the disease to as many as 15 other people in a year. Unfortunately, because so many people living with TB in developing countries remain undiagnosed or are missed by health systems, there are millions of unnecessary deaths caused by the epidemic annually.
World TB Day Campaign 2019
World TB Day, a day that will shine a spotlight on the global epidemic of tuberculosis and the strides being taken to eliminate the disease, is on March 24. This date marks the day in 1882 when Doctor Robert Koch, the founder of modern bacteriology, declared that he had discovered the bacterium that causes tuberculosis. His discovery paved the way to diagnosing and curing the disease.
On this day, Sydney Town Hall, Melbourne Town Hall, Brisbane City Hall, Launceston Town Hall and key landmarks in Hobart will join the global movement to ‘Light up the World for TB.’ These prestigious landmarks will be lit up in red to show their commitment towards ending tuberculosis globally.
Ahead of World TB Day, we encourage you to attend our Sydney World TB Day event on Wednesday March 20 at the Centenary Institute, Level 6, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Missenden Road, Camperdown, Sydney.
Join us for a conversation with pioneering change-makers, researchers, medical experts and TB survivors to learn how you can take real action on this issue with RESULTS Australia.
To RSVP, please click here.
Outbreaks of TB spread the disease further
Small outbreaks of TB can quickly spread across borders, meaning even minor outbreaks within a nation can have dire and widespread social and economic consequences.
For example, research from KPMG on behalf of the Global TB Caucus estimates that 28 million people will die from TB between 2015 and 2030. The cost to the global economy will be an enormous
US $1 trillion.
Funding gaps in TB prevention
Unfortunately, there are major annual funding gaps in TB prevention, diagnosis, treatment, research and innovation that are preventing the curable disease from being eradicated globally.
It is therefore vital that The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria – a fund that invests nearly US $4 billion a year to support programs in countries and communities most in need – allocates more of its international funding to TB programs.
Want to know more?
To learn more about why you should care about TB on a global level and become an advocate for a tuberculosis-free world, please read our infographic.
The way forward
It is vital that Australian leaders and decision makers work with each other, and also with partner countries, to ensure that every nation does their fair share politically and financially to eliminate TB globally by 2030, a goal set at the UN High-Level Meeting on TB.
This meeting, which took place in September 2018, marked the first time in history that TB had been discussed on the world stage by key global leaders. Australia has endorsed the Political Declaration to end TB that resulted from this assembly of world leaders.
Did you find this blog informative?
To get involved in our social media campaign for World TB Day, click here.
To learn more about TB in Australia, please read our infographic.