World TB DayÂ Is March 24th
Saskatoon “ March 19th - Three years ago at the meeting of G8 leaders in Okinawa, Japan, the world's eight most powerful nations agreed to work together to fight one of the world's most powerful diseases, tuberculosis (TB). The commitment they made was to collaborate to reduce the number of cases of TB worldwide by fifty per cent by the year 2010.
That goal, says Canadian Lung Association spokesman Dr. Brian Graham, will be extremely difficult to achieve without tremendous and ongoing support and international cooperation between governments, health authorities, voluntary health agencies, the pharmaceutical industry, researchers, patients and the general public.
Although a medical cure for tuberculosis has been available for more than fifty years, there will be more deaths this year from the disease than in any other year in history says Bob Ferguson, Volunteer Board Chairperson of the Lung Association of Saskatchewan.Â Mr. Ferguson says TB remains the most deadly infectious disease on earth, claiming more than 2 million lives annually and infecting another 8 million potential victims.
Dr. Graham will be among thirty Canadians who will meet in Ottawa on March 23 and 24 to discuss how Canada could most effectively meet its responsibilities to the G8 commitment and how Canadians could become engaged in that effort.Â The meeting will be chaired by Dr. Anne Fanning, an Alberta physician who is also the President of the Paris-based International Union Against TB and Lung Disease (IUATLD), a highly respected international non-governmental organization in the field of lung health and tuberculosis.Â TB experts from across Canada will attend this important meeting.
Although TB is well-controlled in Canada, we cannot afford to be complacent about it, either in this country or overseas, said Dr. Graham, who is Chairman of the Canadian Lung Association's TB Working Group.Â We must continue to be vigilant with our own TB control programs and be willing to share our expertise and resources with less-developed countries.
The World Health Organization has declared Monday, March 24 to be World TB Day, and the theme isÂ DOTS + It Cured Me...It Will Cure You Too!Â DOTS stands for Directly Observed Therapy - Short Course, and is the therapeutic process by which anti-TB drugs are administered to patients by health care or community workers in a well-managed local, regional or state public health program that insures the maximum effectiveness of the treatment.Â DOTS was developed by the IUATLD and the World Health Organization (WHO) and is recognized worldwide as being one of the most important elements in an effective TB control program.
The Canadian Lung Association, which began in 1900 as the Canadian TB Society, continues to be actively involved in TB education and control programs in Canada and abroad.Â Working with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), it is currently assisting Ecuador to develop and implement an effective TB control program.Â It also supports a number of medical research projects aimed at TB and works with public health authorities in many parts of Canada to keep TB under control in this country.
For more information on tuberculosis or World TB Day, contact your Lung Association by calling toll-free, 1-800-566-5864, search ourÂ websitesÂ or www.stoptb.ca.
Brian L. Graham, President and CEO
Lung Association of Saskatchewan
1231 8th Street E, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7H 0S5
tel:Â (306) 343-9640 ext 222Â fax:Â (306) 343-7007
When you can't breathe, nothing else matters!