World TB Day March 24th

This Wednesday, 24 March is World TB Day.

It marks the date when the bacteria that causes tuberculosis was discovered by a German doctor back in 1882. The theme of World TB Day 2021 – ‘The Clock is Ticking’ – conveys the sense that the world is running out of time to act on the commitments to end TB made by global leaders. This is especially critical in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic that has put End TB progress at risk, and to ensure equitable access to prevention and care in line with WHO’s drive towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.

On World TB Day, WHO calls on everyone to keep the promise to:

  • Accelerate the End TB Response to reach the targets set in Sustainable Development Goals, WHO End TB Strategy, the Moscow Declaration to End TB and the political declaration of the UN High-Level Meeting on TB.
  • Diagnose and treat 40 million people with TB by 2022 including 3.5 million children and 1.5 million people with drug-resistant TB. This is in line with WHO’s overall drive towards Universal Health Coverage and the WHO Director General’s flagship initiative “Find. Treat. All. #EndTB” jointly with the Global Fund and Stop TB Partnership.
  • Reach 30 million people with TB preventive treatment by 2022 so that those people most at risk receive TB preventive treatment, including 24 million household contacts of TB patients – 4 million of whom are children under 5 – and 6 million people living with HIV.
  • Mobilize sufficient and sustainable financing to reach USD 13 billion a year to support efforts to end TB; for every USD 1 invested to end TB, USD 43 is returned as the benefits of a healthy functioning society (Economist/ Copenhagen Consensus).
  • Invest in TB research to reach at least USD 2 billion a year for better science, better tools and better delivery.


Click the image to download a poster size version for printing.

We have a particular interest in how TB impacts children and it is a much bigger problem than people think. Tuberculosis can affect children indirectly as globally it kills around 1.4 million people each year, leaving millions of children orphaned and in increasing poverty because sick adults can’t provide for their families. It’s also a major cause of infertility in women and can increase the likelihood of complications in pregnancy and low-weight births.

One way that children can help is by being aware of how germs spread by coughing. They can make sure that they ‘cover their cough’ and help others do the same – especially young children they are with. We appreciate that the Covid-19 pandemic has taught all of us to be more careful with our coughs this year!

After a cough or a sneeze, children can make sure that they wash their hands properly – with soap and that they dispose of any cloths or papers used to ‘catch their cough’ safely.

Find out more from WHO!