The Stop TB Partnership is sharing today (following the pre-announcement made in late 2021) the theme for this year’s World TB Day: “Invest to End TB. Save Lives.” World TB Day is observed every year on 24 March to build public awareness about the global TB epidemic and efforts to eliminate the disease.
With this theme, the Stop TB Partnership and partners are calling on all those involved in the fight against TB to unite under this overarching theme sounding the alarm that the low levels of funding for the TB response year after year cannot continue nor be accepted anymore. Without adequate financial resources, we cannot win the fight against TB and reverse the severe impact of COVID-19. The disruptions caused by the pandemic have led to increased mortality from TB, decreased the number of people diagnosed and treated for TB, and dangerously affected the rights of people with TB.
This World TB Day, we want to remind world leaders that they only have limited time until December 2022 to keep the promises made to their citizens and nations at the 2018 United Nations High-Level Meeting (UNHLM) on TB. Currently, only US$6.5 billion per annum is available for the TB response globally, less than half of the commitments made by world leaders four years ago. Yet, TB interventions are some of the most cost-effective of all public health interventions—every US$1 invested in TB prevention and care yields a return of US$43, studies have shown. In addition to funding shortfalls, the world is falling short of reaching other targets set in the UNHLM Political Declaration: targets on communities, rights and gender, research and development, diagnosis and treatment of TB in children, and drug-resistant TB in adults and children.
The case for investing to end TB is first and foremost financial. Yet, the investment of hard work, determination, emotion, and energy are as essential as the monetary assets needed to end this preventable and curable disease. This year’s World TB Day is about putting all of these investments into a common goal: saving lives. As we work with our partners in developing the materials, like every time, we will also share complementary sub-themes that can be adjusted to the specific country and regional contexts.
On 24 February, one month to World TB Day, we will officially share the “Invest to End TB. Save Lives.” campaign toolkit and materials to boost awareness and urge action. The materials will be available in six languages. The campaign will aim to involve all of us to help make this global outreach successful and ensure that the effort to end TB gets the attention it urgently requires.
We count on you to join us!