Tuberculosis is one of the ancient diseases in the word aging more than 15,000 years ago. It has gone through a number of transitions in term of symptoms, pathogenesis, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. TB remains one of the leading infectious disease killers around the world. Emerging drug-resistant strains of the disease are presenting a new challenge in the ever-changing battle to control and prevent TB.
24th March every year, the world remembers the day when Dr Robert Koch discovered the cause of tuberculosis, the mycobacterium Tuberculosis way back in 1882. 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 but currently about 95% of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries and it is among the top three causes of death among women aged 15 to 44. Koch’s discovery opened the way towards diagnosing and curing TB.
A lot has been done globally addressing Tuberculosis but still there are challenges to work on;
1. Around 3 million people (equal to 1 in 3 people falling ill with TB) are currently being ‘missed’ by health systems.
2. There is slow progress in tackling multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB): 3 out of 4 MDR-TB cases still remain without a diagnosis, and around 16 000 MDR-TB cases reported to WHO in 2012 were not put on treatment.
3. Provision of antiretroviral therapy (ART) for TB patients known to be living with HIV needs to increase to meet WHO’s recommendation that all TB patients living with HIV promptly receive ART
According to the Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO) met in January 17th, 2014 to review the WHO proposed global strategy and targets for tuberculosis (TB) prevention, care and control after 2015, they realized an inadequate involvement of stakeholders in the fight against Tuberculosis. That is the reason; they recommended seeking, with the full engagement of a wide range of stakeholders, to prevent the persistence of high-incidence rates of tuberculosis within specific communities or geographic settings. Yes, more committed stakeholders are needed on-board.
May be I should ask this question, who do you think should work on the “missed” 3 million? Is it a TB program alone? Governments alone? Funding agents alone? Peoples in different communities alone? I would say No, a BIG NO! It needs multidisciplinary involvement. From laymen, researchers and other professionals, donors etc. Basically it needs me and you. If you never thought of, it’s time. If you are a researcher, Physician, nurse, anthropologist, accountant, lawyer and whatsoever, I argue you to find a way to engage and make the world real a place free from Tuberculosis. It is possible. If we don’t act, no one will act for US!