TB Fight Only Half-Won, UN Secretary-General Says

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon observed World Tuberculosis Day on March 24 by calling for increased and united global efforts to end the disease by 2030, adding that it will kill 1.5 million people this year alone.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon observed World Tuberculosis Day on March 24 by calling for increased and united global efforts to end the disease by 2030, adding that it will kill 1.5 million people this year alone. Between 2000 and 2015, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment saved 43 million lives, and the TB mortality rate has declined by nearly half, which means the Millennium Development Goal target of reversing TB incidence has been achieved, according to the UN.

"But the fight against this deadly disease is only half-won," he said in an annual message, noting that TB will affect some 9.6 million men, women, and children and take 1.5 million lives this year alone. Last year, the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; ending the TB epidemic by 2030 is one of the agenda's targets.

TB disproportionately affects the poorest and most vulnerable and those who lack access to basic services/health services. "Therefore, progress in ending TB must go hand in hand with other Sustainable Development Goal efforts to reduce inequalities, eliminate extreme poverty, ensure social protection, achieve universal health coverage, and end HIV/AIDS," he said. "On this World Tuberculosis Day, I call on leaders across government, civil society, and the private sector to unite to end tuberculosis."

TB ranks alongside HIV/AIDS as the world's top infectious disease killers, according to the UN.

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