In March we honor and remember with gratitude the heroes of the fight against tuberculosis

On the evening of 24 March 1882, Robert Koch, physician and German scientist was presenting his new discovery – Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria which causes tuberculosis.

 

“If the importance of a disease for mankind is measured by the number of fatalities it causes, then tuberculosis must be considered much more important than those most feared infectious diseases, plague, cholera and the like. One in seven of all human beings die from tuberculosis. If one only considers the productive middle-age groups, tuberculosis carries away one-third, and often more.”

 

In 1905, Robert Koch was presented with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work in treating tuberculosis.

 

130 years later, Robert Koch’s words are still painfully relevant.

 

The latest data gathered by World Health Organization shows that:

  • In 2014, 9.6 million people fell ill with TB and 1.5 million died from the disease.
  • Tuberculosis is among the top 5 causes of death for women aged 15 to 44 in low- and middle-income countries.
  • It is estimated that 1 million kids became ill with tuberculosis in 2014, and 140.000 died of TB.
  • TB is a leading killer of HIV-positive people: in 2015, 1 in 3 HIV deaths was due to TB.

 

The good news is that:

  • The TB death rate dropped 47% between 1990 and 2015;
  • An estimated 43 million lives were saved through TB diagnosis and treatment between 2000 and 2014.

 

To make tuberculosis history by 2020, everyone must be involved: patients and affected people, professionals from medical, legal, social and psychological fields, civil society, public institutions, central and local authorities, governments and international organizations.

 

As members of The Stop TB Partnership Romania and Stop TB International, we took upon ourselves and continued the mission to provide services to the patients and to persuade the decision makers from various levels regarding the need to get involved in the joint efforts to eradicate tuberculosis in Romania.

 

We wish for the professionals from the medical system to be able to diagnose in the shortest time any form of tuberculosis and to give a complete, correct and quality treatment to every patient. For this, we look for solutions together with the Ministry of Health and with the National TB Program, the National Drug Agency, and international partners: the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Norwegian Financial Mechanism, World Health Organization.

 

We want the patients to receive social and material support during ambulatory treatment. For that, we organize meetings with mayors, vice-mayors, and other representatives of local authorities that have the necessary means to help the patients and their families in the community.

 

We hope tuberculosis will stop being a public health threat, and the persons affected along with the general population will benefit from adequate measures to reduce its impact. For this, we submit proposals to the decision makers from central governmental level and towards the legislators: the bill for the tuberculosis patients follows its course; we endorse the efforts of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to ensure sustainability for the projects financed in Romania and the budgeting of The National TB Control Strategy.

 

By 2020, we want tuberculosis to become history.