24 March: World Tuberculosis Day 
A TB-free world needs more investments and stronger political commitment


Michel Kazatchkine, Special Advisor to the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe (WHO/Europe), former Executive Director of the Global Fund and Board Member of Friends Europe


In 2022, 10.3 million people fell ill with tuberculosis. Despite it being a preventable and curable disease, 1.3 million people died from TB that year and TB remains the world’s top killer infectious disease.  It also is the leading cause of death of people with HIV and a major contributor to antimicrobial resistance.

After two years of regression associated with the Covid pandemic, we are now witnessing signs of renewed progress in the fight against TB. A record number of 7.3 million people have been diagnosed in 2022, according to WHO.

Yet, many challenges persist. Funding remains inadequate; TB services and health systems remain fragile in many places around the world; poverty, exclusion and inequities in access to care continue to hinder prevention and treatment of TB and the perspective of ending the disease by 2030.

New hope with new science

Recent years have seen outstanding scientific advances in the fight against TB.  New molecular diagnostic tools are available. Treatment of drug-resistant TB is shorter, safer and more effective than ever. New vaccine candidates are in clinical trials. The preventative and curative arsenal against TB is becoming more robust each year. With increased investments and international collaboration, science will bring even more powerful innovations in the coming years.

The need to further strengthen national TB programs

While science opens new prospects, translating scientific progress into programs and the actual implementation of national TB programs remain slow and sub-optimal in many low- and middle-income countries. Achieving universal coverage of TB prevention and care requires broader and affordable access to new diagnostics and treatment regimens, further strengthening of national health systems, including a broader use of innovative digital technologies.

Stronger engagement of communities is essential to finding those who need care, treating people where they are and putting people at the center of care.

Political commitment

Further progress in the fight against TB is largely dependent on continuing and increasing political commitment at national and global levels. The call to action transcends borders, requiring collaboration and solidarity across nations, sectors and stakeholders. Multilateral partnerships, exemplified by initiatives such as the Global Fund, offer the best route to mobilize resources and drive collective action to end TB by the end of this decade.

In 2015, the international community committed to eliminating tuberculosis by 2030 in the frame of the SDG agenda.  The Global Fund, which currently provides three quarters of the international financing for TB programs, works with governments, communities, civil society organizations, institutional partners and the private sector to reset and accelerate the trajectory towards the elimination of tuberculosis and also strengthen health systems and prepare the world to future justify that its donors strengthen their political and financial commitment to allow the Fund to meet its needs.

Watch the interview with Alexandrina Iovita, Senior Advisor on Human Rights at the Global Fund, and Andriy Klepikov, Executive Director of Alliance for Public Health, Ukraine about the state of the fight against TB after two years of war in Ukraine