24th March is observed as the tuberculosis day all over the world. World Health Organisation had initiated the step to kick TB out from the global arena. It joined hands with International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, in the year 1996 to observe this day to create awareness about TB among the public.
IUATLD was working against tuberculosis since a long time. On 24th March, 1982 it decided to observe the day as tuberculosis day. The history of this day goes like this. On 24th March 1882, Dr. Robert Koch had announced the discovery of tuberculosis causing bacterium. It was a mile stone in the health care field. TB has been known to affect population since generations. At that time also it had spread like an epidemic in the parts of Europe and America. His discovery opened the ways for diagnosing and curing the disease. In 1982, on 100th anniversary of Koch’s Announcement, IUATLD decided to observe the day as a tribute to his remarkable contribution to the society and health world. Also, it aimed to create awareness among the public regarding the causes and consequences of tuberculosis. The main idea is to explain the preventive measures and improvise the quality of life of those who are severely affected.
WHO joined hands with IUATLD in 1996 and together these two organisations are doing commendable efforts to eradicate TB and decrease the number of deaths caused by it. Statistics show that TB alone causes 2 million deaths annually all over the world. The number of peole affected by TB is as high as 9 million. These figures are published by the government agencies. The actual number of deaths and affected patients could be far high. As, most of the patients living in rural areas of Asia and Africa continent never get registered. TB is a disease that occurs due to poverty and crowded living conditions in unhygienic surroundings. This is one of the main factors that lead to spread of TB. A person infected with TB bacterium, if left untreated has a potential of spreading infections to 10-15 healthy persons in a year. The bacterium spreads through droplet infection. Whenever a person coughs or sneezes thousands of bacterium are released in the form of tiny droplets of water.
But the good picture is that TB is curable with proper medication and management. DOTS therapy has been found effective against the disease. However, a new complication in the form of ‘drug resistant’ TB strain has surfaced. WHO is encouraging government authorities to generate awareness among the public regarding good sanitation habits and prevention of TB. It aims to lower the prevalence rate of TB to half by the year 2015. Observing TB day is an effort to effectively execute and follow the eradication programme. Rather, this year’s aims are set up as zero deaths from TB and inventing effective vaccines and hence providing better medical facilities to the people.
Various symposiums and conferences are carried out during this day. Not only an awareness campaign for the general public is carried out but the medical fraternity is equally upgraded about the new inventions and discoveries taking place in research world. The day is an attempt to create awareness among masses and a step forward to make a TB free society.