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Towards a tuberculosis-free world

23-03-2011 Report

An International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Stop TB Partnership advocacy report, March 2011

Tuberculosis is an ancient illness. By rights, as a disease that is curable, it should belong to the past. When the World
Health Organization’s Stop TB Strategy and the Stop TB Partnership’s Global Plan to Stop TB were launched in 2006,
the epidemic was still believed to be growing. The fruits of that strategy and plan, now implemented all over the world,
are now in evidence. Since 1995, 41 million people have been cured of TB and about 6 million deaths have been averted.
The epidemic is in a steady, although very modest and slow, decline. But there is still a long way to go.

More than 9 million people still become ill with active TB each year and 1.7 million people died of TB in 2009. A third
of the world’s population harbours latent TB infection, which can emerge at any time as an airborne and transmittable
disease. These figures should not inspire hopelessness, but rather an acknowledgment that TB is a unique pandemic. To
reduce this human reservoir of infection will require many years of steady and indefatigable effort. Strong international
and national commitment is absolutely essential.