KARACHI: The World TB Day will be observed on 24 March 2018 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of tuberculosis (TB) and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic.

Despite significant progress over the last decades, TB continues to be the top infectious killer worldwide, claiming over 4,500 lives a day. The emergence of multidrug-resistant TB (poses a major health security threat and could risk gains made in the fight against TB. This year’s theme of the day is: Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free world. The theme is aimed at paying focus on building commitment to end TB, not only at the political level with Heads of State and Ministers of Health, but at all levels from Mayors, Governors, parliamentarians and community leaders, to people affected with TB, civil society advocates, health workers, doctors or nurses, NGOs and other partners. All can be leaders of efforts to end TB in their own work or terrain.

This is a critical theme, given the political importance of the upcoming UN General Assembly high-level meeting on TB this year, which will bring together Heads of State in New York. It follows on from a very successful Ministerial Conference on Ending TB in Moscow on 16-17 November, 2017 which resulted in high-level commitments from Ministers and other leaders from 120 countries to accelerate progress to end TB. World TB Day provides the opportunity to shine the spotlight on the disease and mobilize political and social commitment for accelerate progress to end TB.