© 2011 Klienne M. Eco / Photoshare

Today we mark World Tuberculosis Day (WTD) 2020. WTD calls on everyone to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of tuberculosis (TB), and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic. 

Every day, over 4000 people lose their lives to TB and close to 30,000 people fall ill. In 2018, about 0.5 million people fell ill with drug-resistant TB and only one in three people accessed treatment. 

Under the theme 'It's Time', WTD 2020 calls for everyone to accelerate the TB response to save lives, end suffering and build on high level committments made at the 2018 UN High-Level Meeting on TB.

However, ending TB by 2030 needs political will, financial resources, multisectoral engagement and community ownership. It’s time for universal access to find and treat all people with quality care.

COVID-19 and World TB Day Lessons Learned

 In a statement published on Monday 23 March, The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (The Union) called for essential access to TB prevention, diagnosis and treatment to continue, as people living with TB are likely be more vulnerable to COVID-19. 

TB overwhelmingly affects low-and middle-income countries (LMNCs), where widespread poverty, a lack of access to medical care and few public health interventions allow the disease to spread in crowded living conditions.

In light of COVID-19, we recognise the importance of lessons learned of solidarity and resilience. 

"It is so important to put vulnerable people first in the fight against COVID-19. We have learnt from many TB survivors who have gone through the isolation, fear, discrimination and stigma that we are facing with COVID-19. Let's not repeat this. Let's learn from it. We all need each other. Now is the time for collaboration and sharing any practical lessons from fighting TB that we can", Claire Forlani, Film and television actor and Ambassador for The Union.

Read the full statement here.