Ghana joins the rest in the continent to observe World Tuberculosis Day 2017 under the theme is ‘Unite to End TB’ today, March 24, 2017.
The main aim behind the celebration of this day is to fight tuberculosis and eradicate this deadly disease that has been claiming millions of life.
Tuberculosis is a deadly infectious disease that claims more than 1.7 million lives every year all over the world.
In Ghana, TB mortality rate is considered high at 7.5 per every 1,000 infected and the prevalence is 264 per 100,000 in general population.
Tuberculosis is a communicable disease caused by a bacterium which mostly attacks the lungs and other organs of the body.
The disease is transmitted from a sick patient to another through coughing, singing and sneezing and its major symptoms are coughs, which last for more than two weeks, loss of weight, tiredness, night sweats, chest pain and cough with blood-stained sputum.
As we commemorate this day on March 24, 2017, here is everything you need to know about World Tuberculosis Day and its significance.
1. When is World Tuberculosis Day?
World Tuberculosis Day is celebrated on March 24 worldwide. It is one of the eight global public health campaigns marked by the WHO. The World Health Organisation began celebrating World TB day on March 24, 1982. This was part of a year-long centennial effort by the IUATLD and the World Health Organization under the theme “Defeat TB: Now and Forever.” This event led to the make World TB Day an annual observation.
2. Why is World TB Day observed?
The celebration of World Tuberculosis Day is in remembrance of Dr Robert Koch’s discovery of the TB bacillus which was announced on March 24 in 1882. Robert Koch announced his discovery of the TB bacillus to a small group of scientists on this day and marked a key point in the war against the disease. However, the first World TB Day was observed one century after this discovery on March 24, 1982. It has since become an annual occurrence and people all over the world gather and discusses the various solutions to put an end to the life-threatening disease.
3. Why is World Tuberculosis Day important?
World Tuberculosis Day is a day dedicated to tuberculosis and encourages people to organise various conferences and discussions around steps to stop the spread of tuberculosis in the world and put eradicate it. Tuberculosis currently claims more than 1.7 million lives. Tuberculosis is one of the leading causes of death in various parts of the world, especially in third world countries. The number of HIV patients who die because of TB is extremely high. World TB Day helps to make efforts and put an end to this deadly disease that is various daunting parts of the world.
4. Significance of Unite to End TB
The aim of the World Health Organisation has been to make people more aware of the signs and symptoms of TB and how to curb the disease. The theme for World TB Day 2017, Unite to End TB, aims at full filling the goal. The focus this year is to increase awareness both about the disease as well as the vaccines. One of the most crucial reasons behind the fear and dread of tuberculosis has been the lack of availability of these vaccines, especially in the underdeveloped and developing countries. The WHO is striving to bridge this gap between supply and demand and hopes that ‘Unite to End TB’ helps all the countries in the world to come together and fight the disease.
World TB Day is also seen as an opportunity to build public awareness about TB and shatter the myths around the disease. While tuberculosis affects people of all ages, sex and races, the number of children affected by the disease is extremely high. On an average, 10-15 % of all TB patients is under the age of 14. While we are spreading the message of World TB Day and making people aware about the disease, it is extremely important to take preventive measures against TB. The easiest measure is to not ignore basic health issues like a persistent cough and adopting a healthy lifestyle.