24th March is World Tuberculosis Day because on this day in 1882 Dr Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacterium that cases TB, which paved the way for the diagnosis and treatment of this disease.
Tuberculosis is still one of the most deadly diseases in the world, about 10 million people in the world suffer from it and 1.4 million people died from in in 2019 alone.
25% of the new cases throughout the world are recorded in Africa
On this day the Community of Sant’Egidio’s DREAM programme is joining the World Health Organisation’s appeal “The Clock is Ticking”, the slogan chosen this year by the WHO to indicate the importance of moving fast. TB is a disease that can be treated with antibiotics, and although the therapies last a long time, they are not expensive, but drug resistance is an obvious problem. We need to hurry, “time is going fast”.
In the 10 countries where DREAM works, it guarantees assistance for the sick and offers accurate diagnoses and treatments. People with tuberculosis often also die from other diseases that make the patients’ condition even worse.
This is why DREAM associates TB and HIV/AIDS therapies with screening for diabetes and hypertension. Tuberculosis is even more insidious in HIV+ people because it is difficult to detect and treat.
The DREAM programme staff are involved in active research in the field of diagnostics and are working on innovative tests for more effective diagnoses.