We Could See Tuberculosis End In Our Lifetime

Since the year 2000, global efforts to fight tuberculosis have reduced the TB mortality rate by 37 percent, saving about 53 million lives — that’s a little more than the populations of California and Pennsylvania combined. In many parts of the world, however, progress has stalled, and many gaps remain in TB prevention and care. As a result, tuberculosis kills more people than any other infectious disease. It’s even the leading killer for people with HIV. But there are people doing good work to end TB for good: Ministers from 75 countries met in November and committed to ramping up on actions to end the disease by 2030. The group has promised to increase multisectoral action, track progress, and build accountability. With this collective effort, tuberculosis could be out the door in our lifetime.

This sort of global strategy can be majorly effective — just take a look at what happened with polio. In 1988, national governments adopted a resolution for the worldwide eradication of polio. Since that year, cases have decreased by more than 99 percent, from an estimated 350,000 polio cases to just 37 reported cases in 2016. We’ve seen governments come together and end a disease before, and we’re hopeful that we can see the same outcome with TB.

Branden Harvey