Stop Tuberculosis: A Global Emergency

Stop Tuberculosis: A Global Emergency
Fecha de publicación: 
28 March 2023
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In 2015, world leaders and the United Nations General Assembly designed a public policies agenda "to eradicate poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all".

This great project of action is known as the "Sustainable Development Goals" (SDGs) and includes 17 goals that are due to be met in 2030. Among them, number three —Health and Well-being— is dedicated to guaranteeing a healthy life and promote satisfaction and security at all ages.

However, health emergencies do not cease to keep countries on alert. The pandemic crisis derived from Covid-19 is an example of how much damage this type of situation can cause in human life, health systems, and national economies.

In fact, other epidemic risks are latent right behind the door. Such is the case of tuberculosis (TB), a disease that international organizations seek to fight through multisectoral collaboration and the response commitment of States at the highest level.

And it’s that, according to WHO, the collective effort, the government debt to meet that Objective and the WHO End Tuberculosis Strategy, among other initiatives, have been insufficient to slow down the number of people affected.

Although curable and preventable, TB continues to emerge as one of the deadliest infectious diseases in the world. Data from the Pan American Health Organization ensure that every day some 4,400 individuals die from it, while another 30,000 are infected.

Caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis, it’s usually transmitted from person to person through air when the infected person coughs, sneezes or spits. It was the German doctor Robert Koch who discovered it on March 24th, 1882.

Although that event specified a certainty in its diagnosis and cure, the truth is that totally eliminating it continues to be a pending issue. Hence the degree of priority that the act of intensifying drives and devising opportune containment maneuvers must have.


Since the distant year 1962, Cuba’s health system has had the National Tuberculosis Control Program. The successes in fighting it are visible in the plummeting trend in the numbers of infections the country has shown during all these decades of intense work.

Only one reference confirms what has been achieved by the Cuban health services: currently, mortality from TB does not constitute a health issue as it keeps a rate of less than one per 100,000 inhabitants.

Among the basic pillars on which the national system rests and which is aimed at controlling, reducing, and eliminating TB, appear focus control to identify patients and prevent the appearance of new ones, as well as immunization with the BCG vaccine applied to newly born.

The unstoppable work Cuba sustains reveals a commitment that responds to the global call WHO encourages each year when it celebrates the World Tuberculosis Day on March 24th.

Established, precisely, with the purpose of raising public awareness about the devastating health, social, and economic consequences” it causes, the commemoration of this 2023 also pursues to communicate hope with the subject Yes. We can put an end to TB!

The message emphasizes urging nations to intensify preparations for the UN High-Level Meeting on TB, scheduled next September. The Heads of State will meet there, who will define the guidelines that will terminate, once and for all, the impact of this disease.

Regarding the date, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, stated that one of the most important lessons from the response to Covid-19 is that innovative interventions can be implemented quickly if they are given political priority, and adequately financed.

Comparing the way to deal with both epidemics, he pointed out: "The challenges posed by TB and Covid-19 are different, but the ingredients that accelerate science, research, and innovation are the same (...) We believe that the field of tuberculosis will benefit from similar high-level coordination.”

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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