World TB Day, which is observed on 24 March every year, is designed to raise public awareness regarding the epidemic of TB (tuberculosis) and efforts of eliminating the disease. In the year 2012, a total of 8.6 million people were sick with TB; 1.3 million people died from the infectious disease, these were mostly people in the Third World. The World TB Day is one of the 8 official campaigns for global public health marked by WHO (World Health Organization).
The day celebrates the day in the year 1882, the time when Dr Robert Koch shocked the scientific community by making an announcement to a small scientist group that he had discovered tuberculosis cause, the TB bacillus. During announcement by Koch in Berlin, tuberculosis was raging through the Americas and Europe. In every seven people that died, one of them had died because of TB. The discovery of Koch paved the way toward diagnosing as well as curing tuberculosis.
Bill Clinton, the former U.S president, marked the 2000 World TB Day by administering the DOTS (Directly Observed Therapy, Short-Course) recommended by WHO to patients at the Hyderabad, India-based Mahavir Hospital. Clinton stated that these are economic calamities, human tragedies, and much more than crises for anyone, they’re crises for the whole world. The spread of TB is a worldwide problem and no nation is immuned.
Today, a network of organisations, the Stop TB Partnership and nations fighting tuberculosis organises the World TB Day to highlight the disease scope and how it can be prevented and cured.