World Tuberculosis Day 2014

Topics: Worldwide
March 21, 2014

Tuberculosis (TB) remains a major global health problem. It is a disease that, despite being curable, killed 1.4 million and infected another 8.7 million in 2011. It ranks as the second most important cause of death from an infectious disease worldwide, after HIV. TB is a leading killer of people who are HIV infected, accounting for one in every four AIDS deaths. While the overall rate of TB cases has dropped in recent years, multidrug-resistant TB  continues to thrive, particularly in impoverished areas of Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Diagnosis and appropriate treatment of multidrug-resistant TB remain a major challenge.

Growing consensus indicates that progress in TB control in low- and middle-income countries will require not only investment to strengthen TB control programs, diagnostics and treatment, but also action on the social determinants of TB. It necessitates a comprehensive public health response, focusing on strengthening community systems and integrated community-based activities.

On this year’s TB Day, March 24, the Red Cross and its partners call for accelerated scaling-up of tuberculosis interventions, faster screening of at-risk populations, and greater attention on prevention activities, tackling the broader social and economic determinants of TB infection.
The International Red Cross is working with those affected by multidrug-resistant TB in Kazakhstan, India and South Africa, emphasizing the need for strengthening the link between communities and formal health systems by:
  • adapting health services to a patient-centred approach
  • improving the quality of interpersonal communication between care providers and patients
  • increasing access to diagnostic services, and
  • empowering patients, communities and civil society organizations through supportive communication methodologies and active involvement.

Learn more about our TB advocacy.