Imagine yourself struggling to breathe day after day as if you were slowly drowning. Well, it is the reality of millions of tuberculosis patients around the world. The disease has tormented mankind for more than 90 centuries. But it is not all doom and gloom in the TB story. In fact, there is a ray of hope for a world devoid of this plight. This world TB day, take an oath to triumph in the battle against TB to wipe off the white plague once and for all.
1. Tuberculosis Knows No Boundaries: Swearing Millions of Lives
One of the deadliest infectious illnesses in the world, tuberculosis, continues to have a significant negative impact on global health. The World Health Organization estimates that 10.6 million individuals contracted TB in 2021, and 1.6 million were deceased. That comes up to around four deaths each minute. Given that TB is a disease that may be prevented and treated, these numbers are very concerning. Tragically, many of the incidents, particularly in low-income and marginalized communities, result from a lack of access to appropriate healthcare and therapies. The most at-risk groups including those with HIV, convicts, and refugees, are disproportionately affected by TB.
2. Do Not Let the Cough Fool You: Breaking the Hush
Amidst the global pandemic of COVID-19, coughing might seem like the most neglected middle child and is often overlooked as a chest infection. However, for a person who contracted TB, this can be the initial sign of impending doom. The cough may last for several months, gradually getting worse over time. The sad truth is that TB frequently stays untreated or is incorrectly diagnosed for far too long, and many people suffer in silence because they are afraid of missing work or failing to fulfill their obligations. As the condition worsens, it can become more incapacitating, making it harder for people to perform basic chores, alongside robbing them of their well-being. It is high time that we take a toll on TB and its prejudicial impact on communities worldwide.
3. From Darkness to Light: Uncovering the Mislaid
It is appalling to know, as per the WHO estimate of 2020, out of the 10 million people who contracted TB, four million people were never diagnosed and treated. The sad truth behind these whopping numbers is the lack of access to health care, shoddy infrastructure, and sparse treatment facilities. So do we have a solution for this stumbling block? Indeed! The missing millions must be bought out to light by imparting screening, diagnosis, and treatment facilities to the high-risk areas. Together we can bridge the gap in access to healthcare.
4. Breaking the Mold: Advances in Treatment Regimen
TB treatment entails truckloads of medications for six months ferrying the adverse effects along. But, there is hope in sight. A four-month course of treatment is just as beneficial for some forms of TB, according to two ground-breaking studies. To make this quicker and more tolerable treatment a reality for everyone, we still have challenges to overcome and meaningful policy changes to implement.
It is a long and difficult road to a world free of tuberculosis, but it is also a voyage of hope and tenacity. We have the knowledge, the tools, and the technology to significantly improve the lives of millions of TB sufferers. It is up to us to act and keep moving forward until we whip off the white plague in perpetuity. And indeed, as a team, we can end it for good.