As the world is busy battling the deadly coronavirus outbreak, there is another disease that is yet to be defeated and to observe that March 24 each year is celebrated as World Tuberculosis Day. With nations across the world still figuring out a way to put down the coronavirus outbreak to rest, each year there are still lakhs of people who die fighting tuberculosis. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), an estimated 15 lakhs people died due to tuberculosis in 2018 alone and every 20 seconds at least one life is lost because of the disease.
As both coronavirus and tuberculosis are respiratory diseases, community transmission is a serious concern in both these pandemics. People with weaker immune systems are more vulnerable in both COVID-19 and tuberculosis cases. India leads the chart when it comes to the most number of tuberculosis-infected people in any country. According to reports, a whopping 27 per cent of the global tuberculosis cases are found in India, while China comes at a distant second with 9 per cent. Media reports suggest that around 40 per cent of India's population carries tuberculosis, however, most of these cases are non-contagious.
If media reports are to be believed since 2009 India has received more than $300 million in aid from the global community to fight tuberculosis. However, not much progress has been made to tackle the disease outbreak because of the government's inefficient handling of the crisis. Media reports suggest that India focuses more on raising awareness rather than going to the bottom of the cause. Experts believe that India should divert its resources towards establishing sample collection centres across the nation to gather more information that would help in executing plans efficiently.
World Tuberculosis Day is one of the eight official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organisation every year. World TB Day is celebrated to commemorate the day in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch enlightened the world with his discovery by finding the cause behind tuberculosis. In 1982, on the 100th anniversary of Robert Koch's presentation, the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD) proposed that 24 March be proclaimed an official World TB Day.