​​​​​​​​Each year, we commemorate World Tuberculosis (TB) Day on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic. 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.

At the time of Koch's announcement in Berlin, TB was raging through Europe and the Americas, causing the death of one out of every seven people. World TB Day is designed to build public awareness that TB is still epidemic in much of the world and remains a significant public health challenge.

TB remains the world's deadliest infectious killer. In 2022, 1.3 million people lost their lives to TB and 10.6 million people fall ill with this preventable and curable disease. Global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 75 million lives since the year 2000.

World TB Day highlights the global effort to find, treat and cure the millions of people who fall ill with TB each year. This includes people who don't get the care they need, often due to factors such as poverty, stigma, conflict and lack of access to basic health services.

Yes! We can end TB!

The global theme this year “Yes! We can end TB!” conveys a message of hope that getting back-on-track to turn the tide against the TB epidemic is possible through high level leadership, increased investments and faster uptake of new World Health Organization's (WHO)  recommendations. Following the commitments made by Heads of State at the UN High Level meeting in 2023 to accelerate progress to end TB, this year's focus shifts to turning these commitments into tangible actions.

To help countries scale-up access to TB preventive treatment, WHO will release an investment case on scaling up the roll out of TB preventive treatment.

Despite Australia’s history of success in reducing TB, there is no room for complacency. Global connectivity through migration means that TB will remain a public health concern in Australia until worldwide control of TB is achieved. 

The NSW TB Program

Since the 1980's Australia has maintained one of the lowest rates of TB in the world. Nevertheless, 1,405 new cases of TB were reported in Australia in 2023, with 528 cases notified in NSW. This also included 12 cases of multi-drug resistant TB (MDR).

The NSW TB Program consists of a network of specialised TB services located across the state providing free, confidential, accessible and culturally appropriate services to all - to ensure everyone in NSW gets the TB care they need.

Further information on TB in NSW can be found on TB - Epidemiology.

Current as at: Thursday 7 March 2024
Contact page owner: Communicable Diseases