Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the world’s leading infectious disease killers. In 2021, TB killed 1.6 million people and was the leading killer of people living with HIV.
This is unacceptable.
We have the tools and knowledge to end TB – a preventable, treatable and curable disease. But only if we recognize that colliding crises – climate change, war and deepening inequities within and between countries – are causing more people to suffer and die from TB.
The global community must act now to finally beat this disease that millions of people continue to suffer and die from every year.
One of the best ways to prepare for future pandemics is to turbocharge the fight against tuberculosis and stop considering it the “pandemic of the poor”, writes Dr. Eliud Wandwalo, head of TB at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, on the occasion of International Tuberculosis Day.
Yulia is a tuberculosis (TB) outreach worker in Kharkiv, Ukraine. She works with 100% Life, the largest patient civil society organization in the country, which is also a Global Fund partner. In her role, she provides community-based health outreach services to prevent, diagnose and treat people with TB. Yulia is also the mother of 6-year-old Yaroslava.
Tuberculosis (TB) remains one of the deadliest infectious diseases in the world, killing over 1.5 million people every year. Even more devastating is that TB is preventable, treatable and curable – but too often people most at risk can’t access the tools and resources that exist to protect themselves or get timely treatment.
TB will likely kill more people in low- and middle- income countries in 2023 than COVID-19. Yet it attracts a tiny fraction of the political attention and financial resources we’ve deployed against the new virus.
When Meirinda (Mei) Sebayang was diagnosed with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) in 2006, she spent five months in near-complete isolation, on the second floor of her family home in Bandung, Indonesia. Treating multidrug-resistant TB is brutal.
Despite living under constant shelling and bombardments over the last seven months, Yulia Malyk has continued working as a social worker in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city. “We are constantly on guard here,” she says. “When I step outside I instantly start checking the spots around me for shelter in case of shelling. We were not prepared. No one can be prepared for this.”
A few months after fighting in the Chernihiv region of Ukraine subsided, Zhanna Karpenko shudders during a summer thunderstorm. "Is it thunder or shelling?" she asks. Zhanna is the medical director of a hospital in Chernihiv that provides tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis and treatment. Prior to the war, the facility had a TB dispensary that supported people with TB in serious condition who stayed at the hospital, as well as people on TB treatment within the community. The health facility also had one of Ukraine’s most sophisticated medical laboratories.