The global World TB Day 2021 campaign reached more than 100 million people
We thank all people from our partner organizations, networks, and platforms for making the campaign a worldwide success
As part of the World TB Day 2021 campaign, KCRI Tanzania raised awareness of tuberculosis among Maasai communities in Tanzania.
15 April 2021, Geneva, Switzerland – The metrics are in, and World TB Day 2021 was the biggest yet! This year’s global campaign reached more than 102 million people, and content from the Stop TB Partnership campaign was seen by almost 7 million people around the world. Online and social media played a greater role than ever in delivering a resounding message that the clock is ticking; with every second that passes, people become sick with tuberculosis (TB), suffer, and die and we, collectively, risk failure in our TB response.
On 24 March, and throughout last month, World TB Day received widespread support, increasing visibility, thanks to efforts and special virtual and in-person events put on by many governments, national partnerships and platforms, civil society, private sector partners, TB survivors and members of the media. Our Stop TB Partnership #TheClockIsTicking campaign helped to raise awareness worldwide that eradicating tuberculosis should be a top global health priority despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted global TB response efforts, diverting precious medical, human and financial resources away from providing lifesaving services such as access to diagnosis, medicine and care to people suffering from TB.
“Despite the huge challenges posed by COVID-19, this year’s World TB Day campaign was immense, thanks to the incredible efforts of all key stakeholders involved in the TB fight around the world,” said Dr. Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership. “It is completely unacceptable to lose 4,000 lives every day due to TB, among them 700 children. We must build collective pressure on global, regional, and national leaders and stakeholders to live up to their political and financial commitments to tackle TB.”
Survivors and people affected by TB, TB champions and real life heroes around the world, several Heads of State, three First Ladies, 20 Ministers of Health, and countless partners voiced their strong support of the fight against TB on World TB Day, raising much needed attention to this deadly disease. Their efforts also stressed the urgent need for the international community to act on their commitments to meet the United Nations High-Level Meeting 2022 deadline to reach the TB targets, which will put us firmly on track to end TB.
Many notable figures voiced their support for the fight to end TB, among them United Nations Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed, the President of Kiribati Taneti Maamau, the First Lady of Zimbabwe Auxillia Mnangagwa, the African Union Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs, and Social Development Amira Elfadil Mohamed, and His Holiness Pope Francis. The Ministry of Health in Oman unveiled an ambitious national strategy to eliminate TB. In Australia, a motion was brought forward in the House of Representatives calling for the government to show leadership in the Pacific region.
The issue of TB in children was highlighted by popular children’s characters, Japan’s world-famous Hello Kitty and Pakistan’s Uncle Sargam. The most popular messages of all came from Noziya Karomatullo, a famous singer in Tajikistan, and Governor Ramil L. Hernandez, a politician in the Philippines.
A new Stop TB national platform was launched in Botswana with the participation of the Minister of Health and Wellness. Musicians from the Democratic Republic of Congo produced a song to raise awareness of TB, while celebrities in Nigeria urged the public to avail of free TB diagnosis and services. A regional campaign in Africa, Run4TB, saw campaigners in seven countries engaged in a literal race to end TB.
Another highlight of the World TB Day celebrations was the announcement of the Minister of Health of India, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, as the new Chair of the Stop TB Partnership Board. The announcement was widely reported in Indian and global media and shared broadly by TB communities and civil society on social media. Minister Vardhan was a keynote speaker at a press briefing on 18 March, which brought new data on the impact of COVID-19 on TB to the attention of the world press, resulting in the publication of dozens of articles worldwide.
The Stop TB Partnership Private Sector Constituency published a blogpost and white paper outlining how investment in TB infrastructure can be leveraged to build resilient health systems. Twelve new corporate partners joined the Ending Workplace TB Initiative, committing to tackle stigma, support workers to access healthcare services, mitigate out-of-pocket costs for TB for workers, and support community-level efforts to end TB.
The World Health Organization held a high-level talk show with the participation of the Ministers of Health of Indonesia, Mongolia, Nigeria, the Russian Federation, and South Africa, as well as Peter Sands of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, Kerry Pelzman of USAID, and TB survivor Fatima Karmadwala from the WHO Civil Society Task Force. With a strong video statement, Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus sounded the alarm that “the world is running out of time to deliver on the commitments made by global leaders to end tuberculosis”.
In 2021, the collected campaign hashtags were mentioned almost 20,000 times on social media, appearing on the screens of 102 million people. Three times as many people accessed the campaign toolkit this year, which was available for the first time in six languages. The toolkit included innovative social media tools, such as the DIY tool, which many campaigners used to create posters, and the Instagram filter, which reached 28,000 people with key facts about TB.
View highlights from our World TB Day campaignand the filter in our Instagram stories.
In addition to support for their World TB Day celebrations, the Foreign and Health Ministers of every UN Member State received letters from the Stop TB Partnership and partners, while a new directory of country-specific, pre-programed tweets allowed dozens of campaigners to easily reach their decision-makers on Twitter.
The Stop TB Partnership wishes to send an enormous THANK YOU to our partners, colleagues, and friends who worked so hard to make this year’s World TB Day campaign a global success. Building on the momentum of this year’s success, we will continue to work together to remind everyone that #TheClockIsTicking. We must step up our efforts to fulfil the UN Political Declaration on TB before the clock runs out in December 2022.