Stop TB Partnership

World TB Day 2002

Stop TB, fight poverty

World TB Day 2002 Highlights [.pdf]

Unlike previous years, a sustained campaign emphasizing this year’s theme was envisioned. Stop TB partners are encouraged to develop year-round activities and stress the targets for case detection and cures, as this indicates both that the global partnership has a plan and that massive expansion of DOTS is necessary to achieve the targets.

Over the year 2002 the Stop TB Partnership developed a Countdown Campaign towards 2005 in support of reaching the global targets to stop TB. "Stop TB, fight poverty", World TB Day 2002 was the first event marking the countdown.

"Stop TB, fight poverty" is a call to the global community to expand DOTS treatment, increase access to treatment and to STOP TB. The Global Plan to Stop TB [.pdf], launched in October 2001 proposes the expansion of national access to DOTS, the internationally accepted strategy for TB control and treatment. The cornerstone of the Global Plan to Stop TB is DOTS. When applied properly, the strategy provides treatment success rates worldwide reaching 9 out of 10 people.

This year's Stop TB, Fight Poverty campaign outlines our aims:

  • Stop the Scandal! TB is the top cause of avoidable death in poor countries. Only one in four TB patients is treated with DOTS, and the poor are underrepresented in this group. This is a scandal because we have the strategies to stop it.
  • Reach out to the Poor! Poor people and communities have a human right to health. Effective TB control can change their lives, these poor patients who subsist on less than US$ 1 a day and suffer disproportionately from the ravages of communicable diseases.
  • Reap the Benefits! Communicable diseases - particularly HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria - are major causes of poverty. Dealing effectively with TB alone can recoup annual losses equivalent to US$ 12 billion dollars from the lost incomes of poor communities.

Starting on World TB Day (WTBD) on 24 March 2002, the theme Stop TB, Fight Poverty will serve as an overarching theme throughout the year. At the global level, activities will focus on building the evidence Base, research, information and scientific debate, supported by seminars and workshops leading to recommendations to be presented in December 2002.

Stop TB partners are encouraged to mount a sustained campaign to:

  • Improve case detection by changing health behaviour and organizing communities;
  • Create demand for DOTS services through grassroots participation and communication;
  • Reduce TB stigma by supporting TB patients’ and health care workers’ voices.
Facts and figures

Improving health is a concrete measurable way of reducing poverty and inequity - both at country and global level. Investments in health are investments in human potential. Tackling the primary diseases of poverty is a way of putting back billions of dollars into the national economies of poorer countries.

TB is estimated to take an annual economic toll equivalent to US$ 12 billion dollars from the incomes of poor communities. HIV sero-prevalence rates of 10-15% - which are no longer uncommon in certain parts of the world - can translate into a reduction in growth rate of GDP per capital of up to 1% per year.

Studies suggest that on average three to four months of work time are lost as a result of TB. This results in average lost potential earnings of 20 to 30% of annual household income. For the families of those that die from the disease, there is the further loss of about 15 years of income because of the premature death of the TB sufferer.

Global Objectives:

The UN Millennium Summit in September 2000 committed to halve the mortality from TB and malaria and reduce new HIV infections by 25% within ten years.

The WHO World Health Assembly members adopted global TB control targets for the year 2005: to detect 70% of new infectious TB cases existing in the community and to successfully treat 85% of them. With new donor financing, high-level political support, problem-solving, strategic planning, and new tools development, progress towards these targets should be possible.

A cost-effective health intervention exists for TB control and treatment: DOTS. Increasing public awareness about proven, effective interventions like DOTS and providing greater access and benefit to treatment for those with TB, will help put billions back into the economy. Aggressive implementation and expansion of DOTS on a world-wide basis is vitally important if we are going to meet the 2005 targets.

Aims of this year's theme

Emphasize the link between TB and poverty. TB is the top cause of avoidable death in poor countries. It is estimated that only 1 in 4 TB cases receives DOTS treatment, the poor.

Increase resources for country plans to stop TB. DOTS expansion is critical if we are to reach global TB targets for 2005 and if we are to attack poverty "head on". 17 of the 22 High TB Burden countries are low-income countries.

Raise awareness among political leaders, decision-makers and opinion leaders around the world about the implications of TB, especially on the economy, and the fact that there is no excuse for inaction in the face of an available, cost-effective cure.

Mobilize TB sufferers and vulnerable groups to demand greater access to treatment, thereby enabling them to become productive members of their society