Stop TB Partnership

World TB Day 2001

DOTS: TB cure for all

World TB Day 2001 Highlights [.pdf]

"We have heard Ministers agree that no one should be denied access to DOTS. This means that DOTS should be available to all who need it, wherever they live, whether they are young or old, man or woman, homeless or housed, jailed or free."

Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General, World Health Organization
Ministerial Conference on TB and Sustainable Development, Amsterdam, 24 March 2000

The theme for World TB Day 2001, "DOTS: TB cure for all", calls for equitable access to TB services for anyone who has TB, free from discrimination - rich or poor, man or woman, adult or child, imprisoned or free, and including other vulnerable groups such as people with HIV or drug resistant TB. TB cure for all contributes to the fulfilment of everyone’s right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health.

The two main objectives of this year's campaign are:

1) To mobilize political leaders and decision-makers around the world about the situation of TB sufferers, the implications of TB for human development, and the fact that there is no excuse for inaction in the face of an available, cost-effective cure.

2) To raise awareness that a cure for TB is available and that accessing and completing TB treatment, without stigma and discrimination, is an important step in realizing one’s right to the highest attainable standard of health and well-being.

The theme, "DOTS: TB cure for all", promotes the principles of the Amsterdam Declaration to Stop TB [.pdf]. Through the Declaration, countries committed themselves on World TB Day 2000 to expand DOTS coverage with the goal of making DOTS accessible to all who need it. They noted "with grave concern that the magnitude of the suffering and death caused by TB is both alarming and unacceptable". The Declaration further states that:

  • Access to life-saving tuberculosis control programmes providing safe, high-quality drugs opens doors to life's opportunities by getting people back to work and school.
  • Effective treatment and cure of tuberculosis is one of the most tangible interventions available to extend the life of persons with HIV/AIDS.

"DOTS: TB cure for all" reflects the important role of governments and the private sector in providing TB drugs and services. It points to the need for health services to be patient-centred and non-discriminatory. It challenges DOTS providers to continue to reach out and adapt DOTS to the needs of their TB patients. It highlights the crucial role of DOTS workers and the community in ensuring that the right to health for each patient becomes a reality, even in remote communities and among minority populations. It is a call to civil society to provide an environment that encourages everyone with TB to seek treatment and cure. DOTS is used here in its broadest sense as an umbrella term for all DOTS-based strategies, including DOTS plus for multidrug-resistant TB and TB/HIV.

"TB Treatment for All" was also the theme of a 2000 campaign launched by the International Union Against TB and Lung Disease (IUATLD), inspired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Archbishop Tutu made a moving and passionate declaration to attract the world’s attention to the fact that despite the existence of a powerful and inexpensive tool to combat the disease, fewer than 25% of TB sufferers worldwide have access to affordable and effective treatment strategy.

Desmond Tutu spoke on behalf of tuberculosis patients everywhere urging that governments, the United Nations and development agencies the world over, take this responsibility seriously and make TB treatment and cure available to everybody who needs it to stop the TB epidemic. "Every person with TB has the right to be treated for his or her disease. TB can be cured, this scourge can be defeated. So let us stop denying them this basic human right".