Today, March 24, 2009, is World TB Day: a day to advocate for those affected by tuberculosis (TB) and raise awareness of the disease that claims the lives of an estimated 1.6 million people every year, according to the American Lung Association (ALA).

“I am stopping TB,” a message of empowerment, is the slogan for World TB Day 2009 as part of a 2-year campaign launched in 2008. The slogan reminds us that all people can do their part to stop the spread of TB.

Online resources
are available from the Stop TB Partnership Web site to help promote World TB Day. Visitors to the site can download a World TB Day kit and posters, and the official 2009 slogan “I am stopping TB” is available for download all six United Nations (UN) languages. The Stop TB partnership also invites you to share photos and stories from World TB Day on the World TB Day blog.

Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO)’s 2009 global report on tuberculosis is available for download Online. The WHO summarizes the report into 28 key points for an easier read that can also be found online in all 6 UN languages.

According to the WHO Web site, “The report presents the WHO’s latest assessment of the epidemiological burden of TB (numbers of cases and deaths), as well as progress towards the 2015 targets for global TB control that have been established within the context of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It also includes a thorough analysis of implementation and financing of the WHO’s Stop TB Strategy and the Stop TB Partnership’s Global Plan to Stop TB, since in combination these have set out how TB control needs to be implemented and funded to achieve the 2015 targets.”

The United States saw declining overall TB rates in 2008, but the emergence and spread of multidrug resistant TB (MDRTB) pose a significant threat to the public health of our nation, according to a statement from Stephen J. Nolan, chairman of the ALA.

“Last week, the American Lung Association testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies and asked for continued support for TB program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention if the US is going to continue progress toward the elimination of TB. We requested that Congress increase funding for tuberculosis programs to $210 million for FY 2010,” writes Nolan.