World TB Day 2010: Eradicating tuberculosis in sub-Saharan Africa needs effective and committed north-south partnerships

Ben Marais, Michael Hoelscher, Peter Mwaba, Keertan Dheda, Alimuddin Zumla


The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 24 March of each year as ‘World TB Day’, to mark the anniversary of Robert Koch’s discovery in 1882 of the cause of tuberculosis (TB), Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Regrettably, this is not a day for celebration. Instead, governments, policy makers, scientists and funders must reflect on the paradoxical fact that, although effective and cheap therapy has been available for over 60 years, TB kills nearly 1.8 million people every year, that is, 5 000 people every day! Together with HIV/AIDS and malaria, TB remains one of the most important causes of death from infectious diseases worldwide. World TB Day provides an opportunity to reflect on the poor state of TB control globally, particularly in sub-Saharan African countries (SSA).

Authors' affiliations

Ben Marais,

Michael Hoelscher,

Peter Mwaba,

Keertan Dheda,

Alimuddin Zumla, University College London Medical School

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World TB Day: TB; R&D; Sub-Saharan Africa

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2010;100(3):153-154.

Article History

Date submitted: 2009-12-10
Date published: 2010-03-08

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