World TB Day: Stop TB in Your Lifetime!
beijing, 24 March 2012 - “Stop Tuberculosis in our lifetime" is the theme of World Tuberculosis Day in 2012. This indicates an unprecedented global commitment to stop a treatable disease that, in 2010 alone, sickened 8.4 million people worldwide and resulted in 1.4 million deaths, making the disease the second top infectious killer in the world.
China has the second highest Tuberculosis (TB) burden globally, accounting for almost 11% of the global disease burden. In recent years, China has made great progress in TB control and prevention, which resulted in significant decline in the burden of TB cases. Between 1990 and 2010, the TB death rate fell by almost 80%.
However, one major challenge that looms large along the horizon is drug-resistant forms of TB. They are threatening to undermine the important gains reached over the past decade, by creating enormous strains on all-levels of the existing control system.
The World Health Organization reports that, in 2010 in the world, there was an estimated prevalence of 650,000 cases of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), a particularly dangerous form of drug-resistant TB that is more difficult to diagnose and requires very expensive treatment for 24 months. MDR-TB takes a tremendous heavy toll on families and communities. In 2008 it was estimated there were 150,000 MDR-TB deaths annually.
WHO estimates that in China, every year, there are some 63,000 new MDR-TB among notified TB cases. As each of these cases requires 18 to 24 months of treatment on multiple expensive drugs, the problem of drug-resistant TB represents a huge financial burden to patients and the healthcare system.
"In China, only a few thousand among the dozen of thousands of estimated MDR-TB cases have access to quality assured diagnosis and drugs in line with internationally accepted standards," says Dr Fabio Scano, Team Leader of Stop TB of WHO in China.
This year, the Secretary General of United Nations called for intensified global solidarity in mobilizing and sustaining the resources needed to reverse the tragedy of people who are dying from TB, in particular, MDR-TB.
China Ministry of Health also initiated a campaign "100; 1,000; 10,000 volunteers on TB health promotion" to expand awareness of TB and tackle MDR-TB.
"China has made remarkable progress on TB and saved over 200,000 lives in the last decade. Now is the time to be even more ambitious and 'Stop TB in our lifetime'," says Dr Michael O'Leary, WHO Representative in China.
Fact sheet on Tuberculosis:
For more information please contact:
Communications Officer, WHO China
Tel: +86 10 65327191