UN Sec-Gen Marks World Stop TB Day with TB Patients In Malaysia
UN theme “Stop TB in our lifetime” highlightsdeath rates cut by 40 per cent since 1990; calls for expanded awareness on how children are affected by this disease
KUALA LUMPUR, 22 March 2012 – The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commemorated World TB Day this year with a visit to the Malaysian Institute of Respiratory Medicine here, as part of his first official visit to Malaysia. The Secretary-General was accompanied by Mrs Ban and the Malaysian Health Minister Dato’ Sri LiowTiong Lai.
In a statement released ahead of World TB Day on 24 March, the UN Secretary-General called for intensified global solidarity to ensure that all people are free from fear of tuberculosis and its devastating effects. Mr Ban said that TB is the second top infectious killer of adults worldwide, and its impact reverberates widely to affect communities and families, especially children.
“Millions of children have lost their parents. Children who are exposed to sick family members are at high risk of contracting the disease,” said Mr Ban. “Far too many go untreated, since TB is difficult to diagnose and treat in children. That is why this year we should aim to expand awareness on how children are affected by this disease.”
During the visit to the Malaysian Institute of Respiratory Medicine, the UN Secretary-General and Mrs Ban spent a few moments speaking with TB patients before handing out TB medication to two patients at the ward. The UN Secretary-General was provided a tour of the facilities and a briefing on Malaysia’s national TB control programme.
“The World Health Organization reports that our concerted efforts have helped to cut death rates by 40 per cent since 1990,” said Mr Ban. “46 million people have been cured and seven million lives have been saved since 1995 thanks to the efforts of the United Nations, Governments, doctors, civil society groups, private partners, public health experts, and tens of thousands of health workers and affected families and communities.”
“Now is the time to be even more ambitious and “Stop TB in our lifetime”, the theme of this year’s World TB Day,” said Mr. Ban.
Worldwide, tuberculosis is the second top infectious killer. In 2011, 8.4 million people were infected with TB, while 1.4 million died from it. Twenty-two countries carry 80% of the burden of TB, and four of those are in the Western Pacific Region – Cambodia, China, the Philippines and Vietnam.
ABOUT WORLD TB DAY
World TB Day raises awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis (TB) and efforts to eliminate the disease. One-third of the world's population is currently infected with TB. The Stop TB Partnership, a network of organisations and countries fighting TB, organises the Day to highlight the scope of the disease and how to prevent and cure it. The annual event on 24 March marks the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch detected the cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacillus. This was a first step towards diagnosing and curing tuberculosis. WHO is working to cut TB prevalence rates and deaths by half by 2015.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: United Nations Communications Group
Yante Ismail,United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Sasha Surandran, United Nations Children’s Fund
Ahmad Hafiz Osman, United Nations Development Programme