2020 World Tuberculosis Day overshadowed by COVID-19

22 April 2020
TB still remains the biggest infectious disease killer in the world
Each year on March 24, we commemorate World Tuberculosis (TB) Day as it marks the day the bacterium that causes TB was discovered in 1882 by Dr Robert Koch. This year, attempts to raise awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of the world’s deadliest infectious disease were overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

World TB Day 2020 online talk show

It is important to remember the 1.5 million people that die EVERY year from TB. An estimated 10 million people fell ill with TB in 2018 and the continuing rise of drug resistant TB poses a major global public health threat. Great efforts are being made globally to diagnose and treat those with TB, with WHO reporting 7 million people newly diagnosed and treated with TB in 2018, compared to 6.4 million the previous year.  Although the gap to detect and treat TB is narrowing, there remains approximately 3 million missing cases who did not receive TB treatment in 2018, including many with drug resistant disease, which fuels ongoing disease transmission. New tools and renewed political commitment are critical in the fight against TB, especially drug resistant disease.

Let this COVID-19 pandemic serve us as a reminder that uncontrolled infectious diseases impact all aspects of life for affected populations. 

IT IS TIME we increase our efforts  to find and treat all TB cases and to find solutions to vexing problems that hamper the fight to END TB!


Facts & figures

Killer stats

  • 10 million An estimated 10 million people fell ill with TB in 2018
  • 1.5 million More than 1.5 million people die every year from TB
  • 4000 That's 4000 people dying every day from TB