Press Releases

                                                                                                                            11 March 2004

    Secretary-General Calls for Rededication to Mission of Halting, Reversing Global TB Incidence, in Message on World Day

    NEW YORK, 10 March (UN Headquarters) -- Following is Secretary General Kofi Annan’s message on the occasion of World TB Day, observed 24 March:

    The annual observance of World TB Day is part of our struggle against a disease that is completely curable, yet kills more than two million people every year -- almost all of them in the developing world.

    In our fight against tuberculosis, we have a powerful weapon.  The DOTS strategy for controlling TB is not only highly effective.  It is also one of the most cost-effective public health interventions in the world.  Today, DOTS covers nearly 70 per cent of the world's population.

    In each year of the past decade, more people have been cured under DOTS than the year before.  And, thanks in part to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, our resources are increasing, as well.

    But much more must be done if we are to turn the tide against the TB epidemic.  We must spare no effort in our work to meet the targets for 2005.

    That means that by next year, we must identify 70 per cent of all infectious cases, and treat successfully 85 per cent of those we identify.  It also means we must invest in new diagnostics and drugs to improve DOTS, and in a new vaccine so that eventually we can eliminate TB as a public health threat altogether.

    These are all essential steps if we are to reach the Millennium Development Goal of halting, and beginning to reverse, the global incidence of TB by 2015.

    The Second Forum of the Stop TB Partnership opening in New Delhi on 24 March is a great opportunity to strengthen the world’s commitment to that Goal -- and to take action that can save millions of lives.  Let us all rededicate ourselves to that mission.

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