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World Tuberculosis Day 2024 – March 24

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World Tuberculosis Day - March 24 2024World Tuberculosis(TB) Day is annually observed across the globe on 24 March to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social, and economic consequences of tuberculosis (TB) and to strengthen efforts to end the global TB epidemic.

  • The theme of World Tuberculosis Day 2024 is, “Yes! We can end TB”, which is the continuation of the 2023 theme.

Note: The United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to end TB by 2030.

Historical Significance of 24 March:

i.The annual observance on 24th March commemorates the date in 1882 Dr. Robert Koch, a German Doctor and microbiologist, announced the discovery of the TB-causing bacterium “tubercle bacillus“, to the Berlin Physiological Society, in Berlin, Germany.

ii.In 1886, the tubercle bacillus was termed Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tb), which is also known as Koch’s bacillus.

  • Robert Koch was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1905 “for his investigations and discoveries in relation to tuberculosis”


i.In 1982, on the centenary of Dr. Koch’s discovery of tubercle bacillus, the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD) proposed that 24 March be proclaimed an official World TB Day.

  • IUATLD was previously known as the International Union Against Tuberculosis (IUAT).

ii.This was part of a year-long centennial effort by the IUATLD and the World Health Organisation (WHO) under the theme “Defeat TB: Now and Forever.”

iii.The first World TB Day was officially observed in 1983.

iv.In 1995, WHO and the Royal Netherlands Tuberculosis Foundation (KNCV) hosted the first World TB Day advocacy planning meeting in Den Haag, Netherlands.

v.In 1996, WHO, KNCV, the IUATLD, and other concerned organisations joined to conduct a wide range of World TB Day activities.

Surveillance Report:

i.On 21 March 2024, The Tuberculosis Surveillance and Monitoring in Europe 2024 report (2022 data) was jointly published by the WHO Regional Office for Europe and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

ii.The report provides an overview of the latest TB epidemiological situation.

Key Points:

i.Over 170,000 incident TB cases were reported in the WHO European Region in 2022, a slight increase compared to 2021 figures.

ii.The increase in cases in 2022 can be attributed to:

  • Improved recovery post-COVID-19 pandemic, facilitating better access to TB services.
  • Introduction of active TB case-finding initiatives.

iii.Tracking progress towards the objectives outlined in the Tuberculosis Action Plan for the WHO European Region 2023–2030 presents challenges.

iv.Limited or absent reporting on certain indicators prevents accurate assessment.

Screening and Preventive Treatment:

i.On 15 March 2024, ahead of World Tuberculosis (TB) Day, WHO released “Funding a Tuberculosis-free Future: An Investment Case for Screening and Preventive Treatment.”

ii.This document presents findings from a modeling study assessing the costs and benefits of TB screening and TB preventive treatment (TPT) in Brazil, Georgia, Kenya, and South Africa.

Key Findings:

i.In all 4 countries, TB screening plus TPT leads to a substantial reduction in national TB incidence.

ii.TB screening plus preventive treatment offers a substantial societal return (ROI) of up to USD 39 for every dollar invested and reduces the cost of TB to society.

Tuberculosis (TB):

i.TB is a contagious disease primarily affecting the lungs, caused by bacteria (M. tb) transmitted through the air. It is curable and preventable.

ii.About a quarter of the world’s population is estimated to have been infected with TB bacteria.

iii.About 5–10% of people infected with TB will eventually get symptoms and develop TB disease.

Note: TB remains one of the deadliest diseases worldwide and recent years have witnessed a concerning rise in drug-resistant TB.

About World Health Organisation (WHO):
Director General– Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Headquarters– Geneva, Switzerland
Established on– 7 April 1948