World Tuberculosis Day, falling on March 24 each year, is designed to build public awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis and efforts to eliminate the disease. Today tuberculosis causes the deaths of about 1.7 million people each year, mostly in the Third World.
March 24 commemorates the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch astounded the scientific community by announcing that he had discovered the cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacillus. At the time of Koch's announcement in Berlin, TB was raging through Europe and the Americas, causing the death of one out of every seven people. Koch's discovery opened the way toward diagnosing and curing tuberculosis.
1982, on the one-hundredth anniversary of Robert Koch's presentation, the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD) proposed that March 24 be proclaimed an official World TB Day. In 1996, the World Health Organization (WHO) joined with the IUATLD and a wide range of other concerned organizations to increase the impact of World TB Day. Today the Stop TB Partnership, a network of organizations and countries fighting TB (IUATLD is a member and WHO houses the secretariat in Geneva), organizes the Day to highlight the scope of the disease and how to prevent and cure it.
World Tuberculosis Day 2010
On the occasion of World TB Day 2010, the International Committee of the Red Cross declared that attempts to stem the spread of tuberculosis across the globe are likely to fall well short of what is needed unless authorities in affected countries significantly increase their efforts to stop the deadly disease from breeding inside prisons. As a result of overcrowding and poor nutrition, TB rates in many prisons are 10 to 40 times higher than in the general public. The ICRC has been fighting TB in prisons in the Caucasus region, Central Asia, Latin America, Asia Pacific and Africa for more than a decade, either directly or by supporting local programmes.
Themes by year
- 2013: Stop TB in my lifetime Call for a world free of TB.
- 2012: Stop TB in my lifetime Call for a world free of TB.
- 2011: On the move against TB: Transforming the fight towards elimination
- 2010: On the move against TB: Innovate towards action
- 2009: I am stopping TB
- 2008: I am stopping TB
- 2007: TB anywhere is TB everywhere
- 2006: Actions for life – Towards a world free of TB
- 2005: Frontline TB care providers: Heroes in the fight against TB
- 2004: Every breath counts – Stop TB now!
- 2003: DOTS cured me – it will cure you too!
- 2002: Stop TB, fight poverty
- 2001: DOTS: TB cure for all
- 2000: Forging new partnerships to Stop TB