Dear colleagues, partners, and friends,
Each year, on 24 March, we come together to commemorate World TB Day. We are sending this message while the political, economic, and social situation in many parts of the world is becoming more difficult each day and while we still battle COVID-19. However, we need to continue doing our work as the lives of millions of people affected by TB depend on our actions and support.
This year is a critical year for all of us in the global fight to end TB as we countdown to reach the UN High-Level Meeting (UNHLM) on TB targets which the international community agreed to meet by the end of December.
Ongoing COVID-19 efforts and a catastrophic funding gap of US$ 9 billion threatens to hamper global progress to combat TB. This is why we have chosen "Invest to End TB. Save Lives" as the theme for this year's World TB Day campaign, which officially starts today.
The Stop TB Partnership and all partners are calling on all those involved in the fight against TB to unite under this overarching theme and sound the alarm that the low levels of funding for the TB response year after year cannot continue nor be accepted anymore. Of the US$ 15 billion annual funding for TB promised by world leaders at the UNHLM in 2018, less than half has been delivered. World leaders must step up and triple or quadruple the funding to save lives and end TB by 2030.
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. The highly infectious disease continues to kill around 4,100 people worldwide every day.
Today, the Stop TB Partnership is sharing the toolkit for the World TB Day campaign with you. Materials in the toolkit are available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. We invite everyone to use the proposed materials or create their own.
"We are sharing with you this comprehensive toolkit to help raise awareness for the upcoming World TB Day. It can be used, adapted, or tailored to fit everyone's needs and vision. However, the most important aspect for us is to raise our voices in unison and ensure that we demand the badly needed funding towards our main goal of ending TB," said Dr. Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership. "With every minute that passes, people fall sick and die from a perfectly curable disease that is hundreds of years old. How many people will needlessly die because the TB response lacks adequate funding? We saw that funding could be available within a year to fight an airborne disease like COVID-19. We demand nothing less for the second infection disease killer - TB."
Access below the toolkit and activities you can do to support the World TB Day campaign.