24 March 2014 –Tuberculosis (TB) is curable, but of the 9 million people a year that get sick, nearly 3 million are “missed” by health services. Therefore, it is second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer worldwide due to a single infectious agent. This year’s World Tuberculosis Day seeks to “reach the 3 million.”
Tuberculosis most commonly affects young adults, however all age groups are at risk and can be infected. This illness is most prevalent in developing countries where 95% of reported cases and deaths occur. The majority of those affected live in the world’s poorest, most vulnerable communities or are among marginalized populations such as migrant workers, refugees and internally displaced persons, prisoners, indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities and drug users. Today, the World Health Organization, in conjunction with the Stop TB Partnership, seeks to raise awareness about the burden of tuberculosis worldwide and the status of TB prevention and control efforts.
The Day is also an occasion to mobilize political and social commitment for further progress. As well as to provide the opportunity for affected persons and the communities in which they live, government’s civil society organizations, health-care providers, and international partners to call for further action to reach the 3 million. Progress towards global targets for reductions in TB cases and deaths in recent years has been impressive. New TB tools such as rapid diagnostics are helping transform response to the disease and new life-saving drugs are being introduced.
But the global burden remains huge and significant challenges persist. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has stated that the treatment of this illness will benefit the whole world and that, “By caring for the 3 million people who do not have the treatment they need, we will foster a better future for all humankind.”
Today the International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims is observed as well. The right to the truth about gross human rights violations and serious violations of human rights law is an inalienable and autonomous right, linked to the duty and obligation of the State to protect and guarantee human rights, to conduct effective investigations and to guarantee effective remedy and reparations.
On this Day, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calls on all members of the international community to “pledge to help victims, their families and society realize their right to truth and protect those who fight to see the truth prevail.”
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