March 24, The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung

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Within the Stop TB Partnership, The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, known as The Union, an international
organisation established in 1920 to fight TB and promote lung health worldwide, commemorates World TB Day, an annual occasion to invite people to actively participate in the fight against Tuberculosis.

The Stop TB Partnership is a global campaign to fight Tuberculosis (TB) launched in 2000 with the collaboration of over 500 organisations and the World Health Organization (WHO). This global action was initiated because, despite a deep commitment, numerous actions and strong ongoing medical progress surrounding TB, the disease is still an alarming global public health problem.

Within this framework, March 24 officially commemorates World TB Day, empowering a strong global two-year campaign initiative called I am stopping TB. This year the campaign is dedicated not only to the men and women who have contributed in the fight against TB; but also celebrates those who have been successfully treated for the disease. It is all about their stories and their testimonials. For centuries, TB has been a major health issue with over a third of the world’s population
exposed to or suffering from the consequences of this disease. As a reminder, TB or Tuberculosis is still a common, communicable but potentially deadly infectious illness, caused by the tubercle bacillus discovered by Dr. Robert Koch on March 24, 1882, the precise date we commemorate. Medicine has come a long way and cures have been found since then, but, unfortunately, Tuberculosis is still responsible for over a million and a half deaths and nine million new cases are declared each year worldwide. Among The Union’s activities around the world, the organisation manages the FIDELIS initiative which specially addresses populations with limited access to modern TB treatment. Its objective is to support innovative TB control activities for increasing case detection while sustaining high cure rates, thanks to the DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment Short Course) strategy.

Dr. I. D. Rusen, Director of the Tuberculosis Control and Prevention Department of The Union, declared, “Within the framework of The Union, the FIDELIS program is an initiative that specifically targets populations with limited access to health services. Many of our projects involve people and communities leading the fights against TB, for example, in Bangladesh, one project provided additional education and training to cured TB patients so they would be better equipped to detect new TB cases within the community. Another

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