What is World TB Day?

World TB Day happens each year on 24th March and is a day to highlight that tuberculosis (TB) is still an illness that affects many people worldwide. It also commemorates the day that it was announced by Dr. Robert Koch that he had discovered mycobacterium tuberculosis. This is the bacillus that causes TB.

What is TB?

TB is highly infectious and spreads through the air if someone with the bacteria coughs, spits or sneezes. It is one of the most deadly infectious diseases worldwide and in 2014 it was estimated that 9.6 million people fell ill with TB. Of those, 1.5 million people died.

Many of those affected by TB are shunned away from the families because of its contagious nature and are socially isolated. In Bangladesh individuals can even lose their jobs if they are found to have TB. This prevents those affected from coming forward for treatment. However, TB can be cured and it is preventable.

The figures

  • In India in 2014, more than 1,609,000 people were newly diagnosed with TB and 220,000 died of the disease
  • In Bangladesh TB kills around 81,000 people every year

What are we doing about it?

We are working hard to find those who are living with TB in order to diagnose them and help them access timely treatment in India and Bangladesh. We do this by

  • Raising awareness of TB and the symptoms
  • We have community champions who go out into the community to find the missing numbers of people with TB
  • We train community caregivers and medical professionals to diagnose correctly and administer the right medicine
  • We counsel those affected by TB to adhere to the treatment because if they don’t it could lead to the more fatal Multi-Drug Resistant type

Ruhul's story

When Lepra saw my isolation and the prejudice that the TB was causing, they visited the village and taught people about the disease. This changed everything.

Ruhul was married with a daughter when he was diagnosed with TB. He was forced out of his family home and was abandoned by his family because of the disease. You can read how Lepra was able to help him here.