Though fully curable, Tuberculosis (TB) is the biggest health crisis in the world. 10.4 million people fall sick ill with TB annually, and 1.8 million die each year. 1 million children worldwide contract TB each year and 170,000 children lose their lives. Over 95% of TB deaths occur in Low and Middle-Income Countries. TB was declared as a global emergency in 2009 by WHO. Unfortunately, the enormity of the problem is yet to be understood by global leaders. The disease has now spread beyond developing countries. Due to global travel and immigration, TB has staged a comeback in the west, from where it had been eradicated.
It is estimated that the world will lose over US$3.4 trillion because of TB in the next decade In 2008, 11000 business leaders met at the World Economic Forum’s Summit at Davos and stated that they expected TB to adversely impact businesses in the next 5 years, with 10% expecting a serious impact.
TB is not just a disease, it’s a socio-economic problem. Entire families sink into poverty when patients are thrown out of jobs. The stigma associated with the disease leads to terrible deprivation and violation of human rights. TB patients are often the poorest of the poor, living in villages or slums. The highest prevalence is among the marginalized such as tribals, indigenous people or gypsies.