World TB Day 2018

Sri Lanka observed World TB Day with an awareness walk at Independence Square under the patronage of the Health Minister Dr Rajitha Seneratne, followed by a conference on Sri Lanka’s fight against TB.

In her speech the WHO Representative to Sri Lanka, Dr Razia Pendse highlighted the importance of community engagement and advocacy that shaped the HIV/AIDS response and today 40 years into the epidemic, we are targeting end of AIDS. TB bacillus was discovered in 1882. .

“If it was not for the active role and demand from communities for services, access to medicines and addressing stigma , we may have continued to have millions of HIV related deaths. We need similar community engagement and investments in community response for tackling TB.

Dr Pendse noted that the WHO TB programme is among the oldest infectious disease programmes and has transformed over time to keep pace with new knowledge and understanding. The WHO End TB Strategy, adopted by the World Health Assembly in May 2014 is a blueprint to end TB. She went on to emphasize how the programme focuses on three strategic pillars – integrated patient centered TB care and prevention, bold policies and supportive systems and intensified research and innovation.

Dr Pendse affirmed that Sri Lanka has what it takes to end TB - and that the country is on the cusp of ending TB.

Each one of you is a leader for a TB free world - “My plea to each one of you is to take a pledge that together we will end TB in Sri Lanka by 2025.”