Every year on March 24, World Tuberculosis Day is marked to raise awareness about the disease which is the most infectious killer in the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The public is made aware about the negative consequences of TB with regard to health, society and economics. Moreover, leaders are called upon to step up the fight against tuberculosis.
  1. The day is marked as the anniversary of the discovery of the TB-causing bacterium which was discovered by Dr Robert Koch in 1882. The discovery helped in the diagnosis and cure of the disease.
  2. Significance of World Tuberculosis Day is to spread awareness regarding TB, which has been tagged by the WHO as the deadliest infection. 
  3. The disease, according to a WHO report released in October 2019, kills over 4,000 people every day and infects nearly 30,000 others. 
  4. This even though the disease is preventable and curable. According to the WHO, the awareness regarding TB has saved an estimated 58 million lives since the efforts were started in 2000.
Tuberculosis in India
  1. The WHO also categorises India among the top 30 critical countries burdened with the threat of TB, with as many as 21.55 lakh cases of infections having been reported in 2018. 
  2. In the same year, the TB case fatality ratio in India was 17%, the report stated, adding that to tackle the menace of TB, the national budget in India was $583 million (over Rs 4,440 crore).
  3. According to the WHO, the theme for World Tuberculosis Day 2020 is the motto, “It’s time to end TB”. 
  4. The global health agency said that the focus this year would remain on urgently fast tracking the response to the infection in order to save lives and end the suffering of millions of people around the world.