According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tuberculosis (TB) is the world's deadliest infectious disease. Every year, tuberculosis (TB) sickens ten million people and kills 1.5 million. "The struggle to end tuberculosis is not just a struggle against a single disease. It is also the struggle to end poverty, inequity, unsafe housing, discrimination, and stigma and to extend social protection and universal health coverage. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that health is a human right, not a luxury for those who can afford it." [Doctor Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General World Health Organization]
The Covid-19 pandemic has had profound impacts on longstanding epidemics, especially on tuberculosis (TB). The magnitude of disruptions to TB care, the domino effects that a TB diagnosis amidst the pandemic have on someone’s life, and the challenges and difficulties in accessing care are great. It is important for us all to take actions to end respiratory infectious diseases like tuberculosis (TB) to #StopTheDeadlyDivide.
While responding to Covid-19, we must not forget about other diseases, especially tuberculosis. We need to ensure equitable and just recoveries for all. Canada must reaffirm its commitments to ending TB by investing in proven mechanisms, research, and development and supporting TB REACH and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Prior to Covid-19, the world was making good progress in its fight against TB; but, since Covid-19, decades of progress and much of the ground that the world had gained have been lost.