World TB Day: United in the fight against COVID-19 and TB
While coronavirus (COVID-19) dominates the news, we need to remember that another respiratory disease kills 1.5 million people per year: tuberculosis (TB).
TB mostly affects low- and middle-income countries, where a lack of access to medical care and few public health interventions allow the disease to spread quickly.
Years of under-investment have made tuberculosis and its drug-resistant forms the biggest infectious disease killer with over 4000 deaths per day. We can’t afford to repeat these mistakes and be unprepared for pandemics like the coronavirus.
Let us recognise that to fight the coronavirus, we can use many of the tools needed to end TB: infection control, artificial intelligence, x-rays, contact tracing, telemedicine and psycho-social support.
Today (24 March) on World TB Day, we join our partner UNOPS/Stop TB Partnership/the Global Drug Facility to call on global leaders to unite forces, so that we can protect people affected by TB - as well as vulnerable populations - from the coronavirus. We also want to remind global leaders of the urgency to invest in better and more resilient health systems, today more than ever we realise the need to end endemics like TB or coronavirus.