Over the past 20 years, that rallying cry has gone from fantasy to imperative. Since the advent of the World Health Organization’s directly observed treatment strategy in 1995, more than 61 million people have been successfully treated for tuberculosis, and new TB cases and TB-related deaths are on the decline. Furthermore, countries have achieved the Millennium Development Goal of halting and reversing the TB epidemic by 2015. Thus, today, we have important successes to celebrate. Ending TB is within reach.
But it’s far from certain.
This year, 1.5 million people will die from TB and 9 million people will develop the disease. These numbers are staggering. As the global community pursues a bold vision of universal health coverage, in which all people are able to access the health services they need without suffering financial hardship, we must be even smarter in our efforts to ensure every TB patient has access to high-quality affordable TB care without incurring catastrophic costs.