“What is tuberculosis?” Many people, particularly among the younger generation, struggle to answer this question. Some may answer the question simply with “a lung disease.” Relatively few people are actually aware of the real threat and extent of the disease. And it is difficult to find fault in their ignorance.
As a completely curable disease, TB was written off long ago as a problem and erased from general knowledge. Instead, today infectious diseases quickly evoke images of HIV and AIDS. If one considers, however, that in 2009 1.8 million people died of AIDS and 1.7 million people died of tuberculosis, it quickly becomes apparent that the problem was far from being eradicated. It was merely written off as a problem of the developing countries – where it only harms the poorest and most helpless people: the ones unable to help themselves.
Furthermore, tuberculosis, in contrast to HIV / AIDS, is not a medical problem – after all, a cost-effective treatment has existed for over 50 years. How can it be that a completely curable disease is still such a dangerous threat to public health? The answer is that the problems are rather social and individual nature – both in the developing countries and domestically as well.
Despite these challenges, it is important to keep in mind that these problems are solvable. Whether lack of infrastructure, lack of general knowledge, uncooperative patients, or inadequate support from the West – all this can be overcome through sufficient engagement and unrelenting commitment. It’s not as if there is no cure for the disease.
The objective of our club is to promote not only the organizations that are directly involved in the fight against tuberculosis, but that also address the root causes and barriers to effective TB care and control.
Since TB is a threat to public health, the governments of all countries have more or less committed to solving this problem. However, there are remain some significant gaps in the public health systems, particularly in developing countries, enabling the disease to continue to exist and spread. Read the next section for more about these weaknesses.