World Tuberculosis Day 2020: “It’s Time for Action. End TB”

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Observed annually on March 24, World Tuberculosis Day is observed globally to raise public awareness about the serious consequences of tuberculosis- a respiratory disease that is both preventable and curable.

Brought about by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria, the first spike in TB occurred in 1985 after the world experienced the emergence of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This virus weakens the immune system, reducing the body’s ability to fight TB.

Addressing the need for urgent global action, this year’s slogan TB campaign is “It’s time” calls for countries to direct their efforts to achieve key targets. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), these targets urge global leaders to, “scale up access to prevention and treatment; build accountability and ensure sufficient and sustainable financing including research.”

Other measures include working to end the stigma and discrimination associated with TB, along with promoting, “an equitable, rights-based and people-centred TB response.”

For Guyana, the National Tuberculosis Programme (NTP) through the Ministry of Public Health has made strides in addressing the bacterial disease. Most notably, testing and providing access to treatment have led to patients becoming cured of TB.

While these efforts are notable, PAHO/WHO has maintained that “better reporting, diagnoses and access to care will close the gap” of persons living with TB around the world.

On the front of the non-governmental organizations, groups like the National Coordinating Coalition (NCC) have joined forces with the Government to fight against TB. In January, the body received a $22Million grant to execute its awareness campaigns in Regions 1 and 9.

NCC’s disbursement is part of a more substantial grant given to the ministry from Global Fund which amounts to $103.5Million, with on overall implementation period of three years – April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2022.