Mon. Apr 15th, 2024

World TB Day was commemorated on 24 March 2024 at Orotta Conference Hall in Asmara, capital city of Eritrea. This year’s theme is “Yes, we can end TB,” highlighting the need to ensure equitable access to prevention and care, in line with our drive towards the elimination of TB disease.

During the event, the National TB Program Manager in the Ministry of Health, Sr. Hiwet Negusse stated that tangible progress has been registered in declining new infections and deaths due to TB and added that the disease is preventable taking the right measures. At the end, Sr Hiwet appreciated the whole organizing committee and thanked all stakeholders, including the two mothers who shared their TB survivor stories.

On behalf of WHO Regional Director (RD) for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti and representing WHO Eritrea, Dr Nonso, OIC read RD’s message, noting that the 72nd session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa in Lomé, Togo, in 2022 ignited a powerful movement toward ending tuberculosis (TB) – that of prioritizing childhood TB and sharing that since then, a 20% increase has been recorded in identified pediatric TB cases compared to the previous year.

The speech further highlighted significant milestone achievements in the fight against TB such as diagnosing 70% of TB patients reducing missed cases, 38% reduction in TB deaths and 23% reduction in new TB cases between 2015 and 2022 all attributed to the relentless efforts of our Member States and partners

It further noted that, while the reduction in TB deaths is commendable, it still falls short of the 2025 EndTB Strategy target of a 75% reduction in TB deaths and 50% reduction in incidences and this highlights the need for continued and intensified efforts to meet these ambitious goals.

The RD in her speech urged all our Member States to prioritize a multi-faceted approach that addresses the root causes of the disease while bolstering our efforts in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment and urged health leaders to intensify their commitment to strengthening health systems, ensuring equitable access to TB care and scaling up innovative interventions. She further emphasized that investing in research and developing new tools, including vaccines and improved diagnostics, is essential to accelerate progress.

Attention was also drawn to the social determinants of TB, such as poverty, inequality, and limited access to healthcare, stating the need for collaboration across sectors and borders.

In conclusion she firmly committed to supporting all our Member States and partners with unwavering determination for a world free of TB.

This day was commemorated in the presence of higher officials from Ministry of Health, Ministry of Information, Ministry of Education, WHO, National Union of Eritrean Women, National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students, Health professionals, Students, and the media.

Winners of the contest held to mark the commemoration, who made presentations and read poems were awarded with prizes.

Other highlights of the day were cultural shows, dramas songs and poems for increasing awareness on TB.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of WHO Regional Office for Africa.

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