Health & Wellbeing
WORLD | Mar 24, 2023

It’s World Tuberculosis Day, Yes we can end TB!

Vanassa McKenzie

Vanassa McKenzie / Our Today

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Today (March 24), the world commemorates World Tuberculosis Day, a day which is designated to spread awareness about the harmful impacts of the medical condition and measures that countries can take to eliminate the disease.

The Mayo Clinic a non-profit organization that provides medical information defines tuberculosis (TB) as a serious illness that affects the lungs and is caused by bacteria.

The condition was first discovered in 1822 by Dr Robert Koch, a german physician and microbiologist. Koch’s discovery of the bacterium causing the disease was fundamental to the control of the rapidly spreading disease which killed one out of ten persons in the US at the time.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 10.6 million people fell ill with TB in 2021. During that same year, 1.6 million people died as a result of TB.

Dr Tereza Kasaeva, director of the global tuberculosis programme for WHO in a statement to commemorate World Tuberculosis Day said that “tuberculosis remains one of the world’s deadliest infectious killers. Each day close to 4,400 people lose their lives to TB and close to 30,000 people fall ill to this preventable and curable disease.”

Dr Tereza Kasaeva, director of the global tuberculosis programme for WHO.

She said that while efforts have been made by countries to eliminate the deadly disease, the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with conflicts, other crises and socioeconomic equities has reversed years of progress made in the fight to end TB.

Among the recommendations listed by WHO to eliminate TB are the prioritization of TB in the agenda of heads of government and other state officials, an increase in funding to provide resources to treat patients with TB and the promotion of greater equality for healthcare access for persons with TB.

Jamaica has a low incidence rate of tuberculosis. Data from the World Bank showed that Jamaica’s tuberculosis incident rate was 3 cases to 100,000 population per year. Jamaica has one of the lowest incidence rates of TB in the Caribbean.

Signs and Symptoms

Common signs and symptoms of TB include coughing (which can last longer than 2 weeks), weight loss, fever, and increased sweating during the night.

Other severe symptoms include coughing up blood and chest pain. Once there are signs of these symptoms, individuals should seek immediate medical attention.


Tuberculosis is commonly spread through person-to-person transmission. When a TB-infected individual cough, speaks or sneezes, the bacteria causing the disease can stay in the atmosphere for several hours.

Whenever that air is inhaled then the disease can be transmitted this is known as a latent TB infection.


Tuberculosis is a curable disease that can be treated by taking prescribed medications by physicians for 6 to 12 months.

It is important for TB patients to take the drugs as prescribed by doctors because if they do not take the drugs correctly the germs that us still alive will become resistant to the drug, thus making it harder to treat. The drugs required to treat TB are provided free of cost.

Send feedback to [email protected]


What To Read Next