Over the years many efforts have been made to stop the spread of tuberculosis. From legislation banning spitting in public, to the development of vaccinations, to public screening programs, preventative efforts have sought to inform people about the disease and to stop the spread of the disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO), the health authority of the United Nations, was formed in 1948 with the priorities of preventing or improving the conditions of: malaria, venereal disease, tuberculosis, women’s and children’s health, nutrition, and sanitation.
Although the prevalence of tuberculosis has dropped globally since 1990, the disease continues in epidemic proportions across Africa, Eastern Europe, and much of Asia. Tuberculosis continues to be a major focus for the organization.
The WHO works to promote the DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment Short-course) program, aimed at increasing detection rates, drug supplies, patient monitoring services, and political commitment to treatment. DOTS is a key component of the Stop TB Strategy, which seeks to expand the DOTS program, address the needs of vulnerable populations, investigate drug resistance, engage health care providers, empower communities, and support research.
World TB Day, an awareness initiative by the Stop TB Partnership, falls on March 24th. Commemorating the day in 1882 that Koch announced he had discovered the bacterial cause of the disease, TB Day events around the world seek to educate people about the ongoing threat of tuberculosis and what we all can do to prevent the spread of the disease.