World TB Day is observed on March 24 each year to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social, and economic consequences of tuberculosis (TB) and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic. March 24 is 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 the disease.
TB remains the world’s deadliest infectious killer. Each day, over 4,000 people lose their lives to TB and close to 30,000 people fall ill with this preventable and curable disease (1). Globally in 2018, an estimated 10.0 million (range: 9.0–11.1 million) people fell ill with TB, equivalent to 132 cases (range: 118–146) per 100,000 population. In China, an estimated 866,000 (range: 740,000–1,000,000) people fell ill with TB in 2018, equivalent to 61 cases (range: 52–70) per 100,000 population (2).
Under the theme of World TB Day 2020 “It’s Time”, the spotlight this year is on urgently accelerating the TB response to save lives and end suffering by building on high-level commitments by Heads of State at the 2018 UN High-Level Meeting on TB and to accelerate the UN’s 2030 target to end TB (3). In response to the theme of World TB Day 2020, the National Health Commission of China has announced China’s 2020 national theme: “Working together to fight against COVID-19 and TB to promote our healthy breathing” (4).