Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General

This year on World Tuberculosis Day there is cause for optimism. The recent adoption of a fast and powerful new diagnostic tool promises to accelerate international gains against the disease.

At the same time, our hope must be tempered by the sobering fact that multidrug-resistant forms of TB remain an ever-present threat that, if allowed to spread unchecked, could set back the steady progress made during the past two decades.

The World Health Organization's Stop TB Strategy has brought major achievements, including impressive improvements in the way TB care is delivered. Over the past 15 years, well over 40 million people have received treatment in accordance with the Strategy. Prevalence and death rates continue to fall, demonstrating the power of international commitment to save lives.

This progress could be lost if we are not vigilant. Efforts to carry out the Strategy are severely underfunded, as is research to develop additional, badly needed tools. Without further improvements in TB prevention, early diagnosis and treatment, some 8 million people will die of TB between now and 2015. TB will also claim the lives of many people infected with HIV.

TB care still fails to reach everyone in need. About one third of people with TB do not benefit from accurate diagnosis and appropriate care. Most of these nearly 3 million people are in vulnerable and marginalized groups, including slum dwellers, migrant workers and drug users.

We need to reach them by teaming up with civil society, health workers and businesses. In the 21st century, no one should die from this curable disease.

Access to quality health care is a basic human right. On World TB Day, I call for action to carry out the Stop TB Strategy everywhere, for all those who need it. This will go a long way toward universal access to diagnosis and treatment, and that, in turn, will help rid the world of one of the biggest infectious killers facing humankind.

Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Secretary, Stop TB Partnership

World TB Day, March 24, commemorates the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch astounded the scientific community by announcing that he had discovered the cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacillus. At the time of Koch's announcement in Berlin, TB was raging through Europe and the Americas, causing the death of one out of every seven people. Koch's discovery opened the way towards diagnosing and curing TB.

In our time World TB Day is a day for remembering this great discovery and also for all kinds of group activities to raise awareness about TB around the world - rallies, races, speeches, performances.

On this World TB Day I wish to propose an activity which you can do alone, one in which I hope all our partners and friends will participate.

Please find a quiet place and time for some moments of silence.

What I have in mind is different than the traditional moment of silence for honouring the dead. These should be quiet moments during which we think about the people whom it is our mission to help, and also those we have failed to help.

Yes, there will be thoughts of anguish and sadness about all the people - enough to populate a city - who died needlessly since the last World TB Day. The vast majority of them could have been cured if they had been reached with appropriate care. They could have gone on to nurture their families, make new friendships, continue experiencing life's beauties, strive to fulfil their dreams.

But it is totally appropriate that we experience a moment of joy for the millions of people who did get treatment, recovered, and are still among us. And a moment of pride, too, for the huge impact we can have on the lives of women, men, children and whole communities by doing the work we do to fight TB.

Since March 2010 the world has confronted many forms of devastation - earthquakes, tsunamis, wars. We were helpless to prevent these debacles and had to stand by watching them wreak destruction, hoping to mitigate the suffering of people caught in their wake.

Today we should reflect on this question: How can the world stand by and let all the deaths from TB continue, when they could be prevented? How can we allow people to die of a disease that can be readily cured through a treatment that costs less than a pair of blue jeans? This thought should provoke our outrage, and drive us to work harder and more closely in partnership against TB and do our best to move towards eliminating TB.

I truly believe TB will be eliminated, maybe not in my lifetime, but for sure in my eight-year-old son's. There is an incredible energy in the TB community. Let us have our moment of silence, reflect and then move on to work for making TB a disease of the past!

If we work together, we trust each other and, if we can channel this energy in the right direction, we can do fantastic things!

Dr Jorge Sampaio, UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Stop Tuberculosis

Every year tuberculosis causes millions of deaths among young people and adults worldwide. It makes poor people and poor countries poorer. By diagnosing tuberculosis quickly and getting people treated and back to productive lives, we can strengthen entire nations. For the first time in decades, we have new diagnostic tests which give us renewed hope. However, denial of fundamental human rights, such as housing, care and treatment, and nutrition is also driving the epidemics of tuberculosis, TB/HIV and multi drug-resistant tuberculosis. Only a comprehensive multisectoral response to these issues through a human rights-based approach will help us achieve universal access, the Millennium Development Goals, and save millions of lives.

Dr Mphu K Ramatlapeng, Minister of Health, Lesotho

For Lesotho, World TB Day is a moment to reflect on an important aspiration: that we reach everyone in our country who needs TB care. This is a great challenge, as we have one of the highest rates of TB in the world. Additionally our population is very vulnerable, because one in four people in our country is living with HIV.

Yet, I am proud to say we are making important progress. Since 2007, with the help of Stop TB Partners including the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics and the US Centers for Disease Control, we have been introducing new technology to tackle TB, TB/HIV and MDR-TB, including genetic diagnostic tests. We have refurbished a hospital and turned it into an MDR-TB treatment centre. And we are treating the TB and HIV epidemics almost as one entity, with fully integrated care.

In Southern Africa, the problem of TB is not just a national one. Migration - particularly among mine workers - is one way of spreading TB and MDR-TB throughout the region. Innovative regional solutions, which will require the cooperation and leadership of governments, the full engagement of the corporate sector, and also the support of donors, are needed.

TB is often forgotten and neglected; yet we have high-cost effective means to address it.. If all countries of the world will simply recognize how critical it is to address TB, we can make rapid progress.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State of the United States of America

Every year, Tuberculosis kills more than 1.7 million people worldwide. This "disease of poverty" is most prevalent in the poorest of countries -- it keeps people from working, stifles economic opportunity and tears at the fabric of societies.

On this World Tuberculosis Day, the United States reaffirms its commitment to fighting this deadly disease. We are supporting programs that are saving lives and fostering a more secure world. We are the first and largest contributor to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria. And across the federal government -- from the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to the National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Agency for International Development - we have made this fight a priority. In collaboration with existing TB programs and our partners throughout the world, the United States is uncovering new knowledge on prevention and treatment strategies; upgrading laboratory infrastructures; training the next generation of researchers and health care providers; and introducing new diagnostic and treatment tools. We are reducing mortality among mothers, children and families by promoting innovation and strengthening health systems.

I encourage everyone -- nations, organizations, institutions, and citizens across the globe -- to join us in our fight against TB. We must redouble our efforts toward stopping the spread of this disease, and recommit ourselves to tackling this 9,000 year old scourge that drains the life and saps the potential of so many.

Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director

I am pleased to see that growing collaboration between HIV and tuberculosis (TB) programmes is bearing fruit. Since 2002 there has been an 80-fold increase in the number of TB patients who were tested for HIV.

For TB patients who test positive for HIV, knowing their status will allow them to seek access to life-saving HIV treatment and care.

However, on this World TB day, I am concerned. We are seeing an emerging epidemic of drug resistant TB. It is a sobering thought that an estimated two million people living with HIV could die of TB between now and 2015, if urgent action is not taken.

The tools are now available to prevent many of these deaths - A faster, more accurate TB test has been developed - and access to antiretroviral therapy has been significantly improved. TB and HIV communities must continue to scale-up joint efforts to rapidly roll-out these services and save lives.

Let us not forget that HIV and TB are two diseases - but we are talking about one life.

UNAIDS has committed to halving TB deaths in people living with HIV by 2015. I believe we can not only achieve this goal, but surpass it.

Global Health Council Community

The Global Health Council and its members working on TB have released a joint community statement in observance of World TB Day 2011. The statement outlines the successes, challenges and opportunities we face in the global fight against TB, addresses the role of U.S. leadership and funding and provides a comprehensive TB strategy. View statement [.pdf]

Administrator Dr. Raj Shah, U.S. Agency for International Development
World Tuberculosis Day Statement

Today, March 24, the world commemorates World Tuberculosis (TB) Day by celebrating the tremendous progress that has been made in combatting this disease. Milestones include a 35 percent decline in mortality since 1990, a 14 percent decrease in the prevalence of TB between 1990 and 2009, and the emergence of new diagnostic technologies that can detect multi-drug resistant TB.

But, despite this progress, TB continues as a major public health threat that disproportionally strikes people living in poor, urban settings. In a world that is urbanizing at a rate of 200,000 people every day, we must be aggressive and innovative in fighting TB. Large numbers of TB cases go undetected and untreated, fueling new cases and deaths. The frightening growth of drug-resistant strains of TB - including strains we simply cannot yet treat - adds to the urgency of combatting this disease.

The U.S. is making major investments to prevent and control TB in countries around the world where the burden of the disease is highest. But we will not meet our target to halve TB prevalence and deaths by 2015 unless we dramatically reduce the length of treatment regimens and invest in new research and technologies.

Current diagnostics require specialized lab facilities, trained personnel and weeks to deliver results. And they frequently yield false positives. We must improve TB detection by investing in rapid, accurate diagnostics that can identify the presence of tuberculosis and its resistance to antibiotics.

USAID is strengthening country-level efforts to scale up and provide diagnostic and treatment services. But we need to expand the involvement of the private sector, integrate TB and HIV care, and encourage treatment of TB at the community level.

We will contribute to the treatment of 2.6 million TB patients, 57,200 multi-drug resistant cases, and contribute to a 50 percent reduction in TB deaths and disease burden relative to the 1990 baseline.

Please join me on World TB Day in celebrating our progress and recommitting ourselves to strive for continued breakthroughs that can improve global health.

Statement of Christine F. Sizemore, Ph.D. and Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health

The theme of World TB Day 2011 - "On the move against TB: Transforming the fight towards elimination" - reflects renewed momentum to approach the global problem of tuberculosis with greater intensity and seriousness of purpose. This growing interest is broad-based, emerging from leaders in public health to laboratory scientists, from physicians to activists.

Today, about one-third of the world's population is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the bacterium that causes TB. Most people have no symptoms because the bacterium is inactive, or latent, but individuals with symptoms of active TB disease can infect others. According to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, in 2009 more than 14 million people had active TB, leading to 1.7 million deaths, or 4,600 deaths each day. Among people infected with the bacteria, those who have certain other conditions, such as HIV/AIDS and diabetes, are more likely to develop active TB and to die from it. Because of this deadly synergy, TB has become the leading cause of death among people with HIV/AIDS.

Although TB control programs have led to a decline in cases worldwide, the emergence and spread of drug-resistant strains of Mtb challenge the way we currently approach TB diagnosis and treatment. Extensively drug-resistant TB, while relatively rare, has been confirmed in 58 countries, including the United States, and likely is present in many more. It has become necessary not just to identify the infection but also to determine the proper therapy for patients at the earliest stages of disease.

Recent developments have created confidence that TB control strategies can be improved to stay abreast of the changing nature of the pandemic. For the first time in decades, a robust pipeline of candidate TB drugs, vaccines, diagnostics, and treatment and prevention strategies are being evaluated in clinical trials. WHO recently endorsed a diagnostic test that enables health care providers to identify drug-resistant TB directly from patient specimens within about two hours rather than waiting months for a conclusive diagnosis. Drugs are being developed that, when combined in novel ways, may significantly improve the way we treat patients with TB. Vaccines are being developed that may one day prevent the disease, even in persons who are already infected with Mtb.

While such advances are crucial to improve patient care, a true transformation in the fight against TB can occur only if we simultaneously deepen our understanding of TB as a disease. For example, a noninvasive means to determine whether an individual is containing the infection or progressing to active disease - what’s called a biomarker - would be of enormous benefit to patient care and for conducting clinical trials of therapies and vaccines. Additionally, although 90 percent of people infected with Mtb never develop active disease, latent TB infection remains largely mysterious. Increasing our knowledge in these and other fundamental areas is a research priority for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. New and improved laboratory and clinical tools, as well as collaborations between all disciplines of biomedical research, are now being engaged to characterize the interactions at play during the course of Mtb infection and TB disease. The extraordinary complexity of the TB disease process makes it well-suited to being examined as an integrated whole, an approach successful in yielding insights into other complicated diseases.

Together with our global partners, we at NIAID are encouraged by recent progress in TB research. By fostering a comprehensive TB research agenda and innovation at all levels, and by addressing TB with research tools appropriate to the health care challenges we face in the 21st century, we can continue to make great strides. World TB Day reminds us that although TB has afflicted mankind for millennia, we have yet to understand it in modern terms. We must use cutting-edge technologies to ask and answer fundamental questions that have never been adequately addressed. Only in this way will we transform our fight against TB towards elimination of this ancient scourge.

Dr Jorge Bermudez, Executive Secretary, UNITAID

We can only tackle TB by bringing all concerned stakeholders to the table and joining forces. Together with WHO, the Stop TB Partnership, FIND and the Global Fund, UNITAID is helping to treat children with TB and diagnose and treat adults affected by MDR-TB. By 2012, we hope to have treated 1.5 million people across 74 countries.

Our approach is to identify gaps in the market and innovative tools that act faster and achieve results. For the future, we will not be able to test and treat all people in need if we do not break the 'business as usual' model. Innovation, joint action and rapid implementation are what will make the difference to millions of patients." Jorge Bermudez, Executive Secretary, UNITAID.

Craig David, Goodwill Ambassador against Tuberculosis

Watch Craig's video statement at

Luis Figo, Goodwill Ambassador against Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis can be cured but it still kills 4500 people every day all over the world. We need to play as a strong team to ensure that everyone has access to doctors and the right medicines: we can win the match and save millions of lives!

Gracia Violeta Ross, National Chair, Bolivian Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (REDBOL)
Community Representative on the TB-HIV Core Working Group, Stop TB Partnership.

March 24th marks the World Tuberculosis Day. Today I want to make some confessions. Why being an HIV positive activist, I decided to join the Tuberculosis movement just recently and not 10 years ago when I was tested HIV positive?

This is why; I finally joined the TB movement:

Because many people living with HIV are dying with Tuberculosis and because it is not acceptable that people continue to die of a curable and preventable disease.

Because the stigma associated to TB nowadays is greater than the one to HIV, for many people it is easier to speak on their HIV status but not on their TB infection.

Because the integration of TB and HIV services could dramatically reverse the deaths of people with HIV in the developing world.

Because I understood that the people getting TB infections are the poorest and the most marginalized among the community of people living with HIV.

Because I am vulnerable if my community is affected by TB and because my country is endemic for TB.

Because I realize HIV/AIDS can no longer work in isolation, it needs to go back to primary health and for me; TB is the first big and open door for the integration of services.

Because TB is an open door to catalyze the work on primary health addressing the social determinants of health, public health, human rights and social justice and the affirmation of health as a fundamental human right at large scale across the globe; and because TB needs to learn the work on human rights and community mobilization that the AIDS movement permitted to flourish, through the involvement of people affected and living with HIV.

Because TB is an opportunity to advocate not only for individual rights (my right as a human being and a citizen), but also the collective rights of communities that are vulnerable to TB infection.

Because it is an issue of gender justice. Because of gender inequalities, women are more likely to get an active TB infection and because women need, at least, a triple integration of services: on TB, on sexual and reproductive health and rights and on HIV services.

Because I want to use my skills on advocacy to ask for more research of diagnosis and medicines and because TB does not have a group of Hollywood stars advocating for it.

Because very vulnerable groups and people are being affected by TB (children, prisoners, very sick people with HIV among others).

These are some of the reasons why I joined the TB movement recently, and the reasons why I will continue to advocate for greater action on TB control with a perspective of human rights of people affected.

You too are vulnerable to TB, but you too can also join the TB movement today.

Gini Williams, TB Project Director, International Council of Nurses

On this year’s World TB Day, I would like to express my sincere appreciation of our partnership and collaboration in our mutual efforts to tackle TB in all its forms. It is essential that we remember all those working so hard at the front-line to deliver the best care possible in often very difficult circumstances. I truly believe that by supporting them in their efforts, patients, families and communities affected by this disease will be better equipped to recover quickly as well as avoid infection in the first place. Communities need confidence in their local health services if we are ever going to make progress towards reducing prevalence, preventing drug resistance and avoiding unnecessary deaths.

In order to recognise the contribution made particularly by nurses, the ICN/Lilly Award for Excellence in the Care of TB and MDR-TB has been awarded to 15 nurses.

Details of these award recipients and the work they have been doing can be found on the ICN website:

In addition, as a result of our collaboration with the International Hospital Federation, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the World Medical Association in running Interprofessional Infection Control Workshops over the last four years, we have the pleasure of announcing the publication of a toolkit to promote a team approach to improving TB infection control.

The publication is entitled: "Risk Reduction and Inter-professional Collaboration for TB Infection Control: A practical Toolkit for those involved in TB worldwide". This can also be accessed on ICN’s website:

As usual World TB Day gives us the opportunity to reflect on our past efforts and remind ourselves and others how much more needs to be done. I am looking forward to continuing our joint efforts and working with you towards a brighter future.

Markus Semer, Senior Vice President Corporate Affairs & Strategic Planning, Kempinski

Kempinski is delighted to support the Stop TB Partnership to transform the fight towards elimination of tuberculosis, especially in those countries where the company operates hotels. As a committed private sector partner, Kempinski aims to bring innovative and easy-to-use tools to raise awareness about tuberculosis among employees and the local communities, as well as hotel guests, who represent an important market of high potential donors.