We’re reading about tuberculosis, and why one day a year is not enough

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Friday was the official World TB Day, a single calendar page set aside to send the message that TB continues to spread — with 10.4 million cases last year, a million among children — that TB continues to take a needless toll — of 1.8 million in 2016 alone, that drug-resistant TB poses a growing worldwide threat, and that the disease continues to evolve faster than research and responses to control it. It remains for the days that follow to remember that until every community and every individual have the tools and services they need to detect, prevent, treat and cure tuberculosis, every day is world TB day. We’re reading about ongoing struggles to stop TB.

The Strength of a Woman – The courage and grace of this Thembi Jakiwe, who at 12 is the “mother” of the pediatric TB ward, and the agony that her treatment entails, will be carved into your memory after you watch this video.

A million children – Thembi represents millions more children — a million children younger than 15 who became sick with tuberculosis in 2015 alone — whose illnesses are compounded by the additional challenges in getting diagnosed and treated because policy makers ignored their plight too long. This brief from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes international partnerships with Ministries of Health to fill the gaps that have kept children among the most neglected, and most threatened of populations in the path of an ancient and merciless disease.

No time to lose – Treatment Action Group is calling on G20 nations to step up and fill the gap between the funding needed to accelerate research and development of new diagnostic tools and medicines to confront tuberculosis and what they are contributing now, with a chart that shows the difference. This will be essential, TAG argues, to an effective fight against the disease that is the leading cause of all deaths resulting from antimicrobial resistance.

WHO issues ethics guidance for Stop TB strategy – Reaching the most neglected people, including those prisoners, migrants, health workers and children will be essential to ending the global impacts of tuberculosis. That’s why ethical approaches to to investments in research as well as diagnosis and care are not optional. To that end WHO released this guide to incorporating ethics into TB responses in time for World TB Day.

Calling on Governments to Respect Prisoners’ Human Rights and Unite to End TB – When the TB incidence in prisons is from 5-to-50 times higher than that in the general population, the responsibility of governments to confront the disease among their incarcerated populations is inescapable, this ARASA release says.

Fight TB through education – When you can’t afford a day off, you can’t afford to go to the doctor on a hunch. That’s why, Waiswa Nkwanga writes in this ACTION blog post, education about tuberculosis is a critical tool for both treatment and prevention. Nkwanga gives the example of his primary school teacher, who in rural Uganda, was diagnosed only after he started coughing blood.

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