On this day (Friday, March 24) in 1882, Dr. Robert Koch discovered the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB), pioneering the path towards a TB-free world.

Nowadays, we band together every year on this date to raise awareness of TB, the leading cause of death by infectious disease worldwide. In 2021 alone, TB infected 10.6 million people and claimed the lives of 1.6 million.

TB is an airborne infectious lung disease caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacterium. TB is recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a global pandemic, with women, children, and those living with HIV/AIDS most vulnerable.

Throughout the years, considerable progress has been made in TB treatment, with the rise of antibiotics in the 1950s. Unfortunately, TB is developing resistance to these treatments, meaning the disease is becoming more deadly, more expensive, and harder to treat.

Wider access to TB treatment is also a key factor. People living in countries with limited financial resources and poor healthcare systems are at a higher risk of developing TB, highlighting the necessity of accessible healthcare and prevention programs.

We need more effective, affordable, and faster-acting medicines to tackle the TB pandemic. However, this requires funds to scale up TB treatment access and prevention programs and fast-track medical research and development.

To learn more, or to donate to the cause, visit stoptb.org/