Countdown to World TB Day on March 24
Holzkirchen, Germany, March 18, 2013
In six days the spotlight will be turned on one of the world’s biggest killers. March 24th 2013 is World Tuberculosis (TB) Day.
Over 8 million people are infected every year. This translates into someone getting infected with the disease every four seconds with TB.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2011 there were an estimated 8.7 million new cases of TB and 1.4 million people died from TB1. That’s like the entire population of London being infected with TB in a year.
Despite these harrowing statistics, progress is being made. The world is on track to achieve a 50% reduction in the mortality rate from TB by 2015. However, with regional variations in success rates in fighting TB, few countries, especially in the developing world, will not meet this target2.
Geographically, the burden of TB is highest in Asia and in Africa. India and China together account for almost 40% of the world’s TB cases. About 60% of cases are in the South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions. The African continent has 24% of the world’s cases and the highest rates of cases and deaths per capita3.
Sandoz has a long track record in the fight against TB. Ciba Geigy conducted pioneering research in the early 1960s which helped revolutionize the treatment of TB4.
Today, together with Novartis, Sandoz is in the forefront of the fight against TB. We are one of the very few providers of quality anti-TB drugs (Fixed Dose Combinations) to the Global Drug Facility of WHO. Our commitment to fight TB is extensive; it encompasses a number of initiatives ranging from raising community awareness to improving access
Partnerships with local health authorities support community engagement programs to raise awareness, provide preventive solutions and counter many myths surrounding the disease. Sandoz Global TB, based out of India, has collaborated with the Indian Government’s Ministry of Health to prepare an awareness film on the management of tuberculosis in DOTS centres. DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment Short-course) centres are public health centres run by National TB control programme of India. These Centres provide medical consultation, diagnosis and treatment to TB patients free of cost. The film reiterates the importance of early diagnosis and completion of treatment. The awareness film will be released soon on tbdots.com, our global TB initiative site.
Setting up health shops in rural areas which are generally not serviced by the distribution network improves access to medication. Last year in Zambia we launched our health shop model to help ensure that basic medications, including TB medication, are available in the rural areas of the country at affordable prices.
Supporting medical training programs for health practitioners to help ensure countries have well-trained and knowledgeable professionals leading the fight against TB. Sandoz, along with other stakeholders, hosts various speakers’ programmes to discuss various aspects in TB control, such as international standards for TB care, management of Drug Resistant TB, use of fixed dose combinations to improve treatment adherence.
Our in- house journal “SPIRITUS,”5 disseminates scientific updates to TB physicians around the world.
Find out more about the TB epidemic and our initiatives to fight TB at sandoz.com.
Show your solidarity by taking part in the various activities happening around the globe for World TB day. You can find out more by following us on Twitter or visiting the Stop TB partnership website.
 In 1996, Ciba and Sandoz were integrated in one of the largest corporate mergers in history to form Novartis. Sandoz is a member of the Novartis Group of companies.