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World Tuberculosis Day 2023: History, significance, theme

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World Tuberculosis Day is observed every year on March 24 to raise awareness about Tuberculosis, a serious respiratory infection. The day also highlights the progress being made in the battle against the disease and focus on the commitment to eradicate the infection.

India has set the target of eliminating the disease by 2025.(Unsplash)

India has set the target of eliminating the disease by 2025, five years ahead of the global target. On the occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address One World TB Summit, being organised by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and Stop TB Partnership, in Varanasi.

What is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis (TB) a serious infection of the lungs is caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium Tuberculosisium, that spreads through tiny droplets released in the air when one coughs or sneezes. It is believed that the infection has been around for 3 million years, according to CDC.


The theme for World Tuberclusis Day 2023 is “Yes! We can end TB!“. According to World Health Organistaion website, this theme aims to hope and encourage high-level leadership, increased investments, adoption of innovations, accelerated action, and multisectoral collaboration to combat the Tuberculosis epidemic.

Events in India:

PM Modi will launch various initiatives including the TB-Mukt Panchayat initiative; official pan-India rollout of a shorter TB Preventive Treatment (TPT) and family-centric care model for TB in Varanasi. He will also award selected States/Union Territories and Districts for their progress towards ending TB.

India has set the target of eliminating the disease by 2025, five years ahead of the global target. India accounts for 28% of all TB cases in the world, according to the Global TB Report 2022. There were 21.3 lakh cases detected in 2021 as compared to 18.05 lakh cases in 2020.

History and significance:

The date marks the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacterium that causes TB, which opened the way towards diagnosing and curing this disease. In the 1700s, TB was called “the white plague” due to the pale appearance of the patients. According to CDC, tuberculosis had different names in different civilizations. TB was called “phthisis” in ancient Greece, “tabes” in ancient Rome, and “schachepheth” in ancient Hebrew. TB was also known as “consumption” in the 1800s. During the Middle Ages, TB of the neck and lymph nodes was called “scofula.” Scofula was believed to be a different disease from TB in the lungs.


Tuberculosis symptoms differ from person to person. Majorly people infected with TB do not show any symptoms. However, the most common symptoms are constant coughing for more than two to three weeks, coughing up blood, extreme tiredness of fatigue, lack of appetite and weight loss, and night sweats.

Tuberculosis can be diagnosed in other organs as well such as digestive system, the bladder, and reproductive system.

Tips to avoid TB:

Vaccination with BCG

Improving the air circulation in indoor spaces

Treating latent infection before it becomes active in selected cases

Maintaining good nutrition

Wearing mask when out and about

Visit a physician if one has symptoms

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