Press Conference, Monday, 21 March, at 15:30 CET
World Tuberculosis (TB) Day is observed on 24 March each year to raise awareness and understanding about one of the world’s top infectious killers and catalyze action to address its devastating health, social, and economic impact around the world. The theme of World TB Day 2022 – ‘Invest to End TB. Save Lives.’ – conveys the urgent need to invest resources to ramp up the fight against TB and achieve the commitments to end TB made by global leaders. This is especially critical in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing conflict in Eastern Europe, the African Region and the Middle East that has put progress at risk.
At the press briefing, WHO will release new guidelines on addressing TB in children and adolescents. Over 1.1 million children and adolescents under 15 years fell ill with TB globally in 2020, and 226 000 children and adolescents lost their lives from this preventable and curable disease. COVID-19 has had an additional negative and disproportionate impact on children and adolescents with TB or at risk, with increased TB transmission in the household, less care-seeking and access to health services. In 2020, an estimated 63% of children and young adolescents below 15 years with TB were not reached with or not officially reported to have accessed life-saving TB diagnosis and treatment services; the proportion was even higher – 72% – for children under 5 years. Almost two thirds of eligible children under 5 did not receive TB preventive treatment and therefore remain at risk of getting sick.
TB is the second top infectious killer after COVID-19 in the world claiming over 4100 lives each day.