World Tuberculosis Day: 'Yes! We can end TB!' - NDPHS

World TB Day 2023

World Tuberculosis Day: ‘Yes! We can end TB!’

24 March, 2023

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This airborne disease mainly affects the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body such as the kidneys, spine, and brain. Despite being preventable and curable, TB remains one of the world’s deadliest diseases, claiming over 1,5 million lives each year. According to estimations, 1,7 billion individuals have been latently infected with TB bacterium in the world. This forms a considerable reservoir of new active TB cases in the future. Therefore, addressing latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) is pivotal for achieving the END TB Strategy goals of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The NDPHS Expert Group on HIV, Tuberculosis, and Associated Infections (HIV, TB & AI EG) was established to strengthen the control of communicable infections by supporting better prevention, early detection, and person-centered treatment and care. The Partnership aims to reduce the incidence and impact of TB and HIV in the region which is in quite a different situation regarding to TB.

The EG on HIV, TB & AI has identified key challenges that need to be addressed to effectively tackle TB in the partner countries. These challenges include inadequate resources, poor awareness of TB among the general public, a lack of political commitment, and high rates of drug-resistant TB in some of the partner countries. Also, the management and treatment of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) have been on agenda during the past year.

One particular issue that the Expert Group has been working on is the impact of TB on migrants. Migrants are at higher risk of developing TB due to high TB incidence in their home country, poor living conditions, inadequate access to healthcare, and the stress of migration. TB among migrants can also pose a risk to the general population, as it can spread to others.

To address this issue, the Expert Group has been advocating for better screening and treatment of TB among migrants. They have also been working to improve access to healthcare and increase awareness of TB among migrant communities. The Finnish website provides information about TB in 10+ languages. Such resources are valuable in raising awareness of the disease.

While progress has been made in the fight against TB, there is still much more work to be done and more resources need to be allocated to TB control efforts. This includes funding for research and development of new TB drugs and vaccines, as well as strengthening health systems to ensure that everyone has access to quality TB care.

Additionally, political commitment is needed to ensure that TB is given the attention it deserves. Governments must prioritize TB prevention and treatment and work to raise awareness of the disease among the general public.

The Expert Group on HIV, TB, & AI has been doing important work to tackle the disease, but more needs to be done. We must all work together to increase awareness of TB, improve access to healthcare, and allocate more resources to TB control efforts. Only then we can hope to end the TB epidemic as a public health problem.


Text: Mikko Vauhkonen, Member of the NDPHS Expert Group on HIV, TB, and Associated Infections, Finnish Lung Health Association (FILHA)

Other News
Enhancing Mental Health: Fostering Well-Being in the Baltic Sea Region
Can our mental well-being be positively affected by the power of art? We believe so. The idea of the Arts on Prescription project is that people with a diagnosed mental condition get a prescription for engaging in cultural activities which has been proven to have a positive effect on mental health. Read an interview with our project partner, Marta Ciesielska from Poland and step into the challenges public authorities face and the innovative solutions offered by this project.
13 February, 2024
Moving from What’s the matter with you? to What matters to you? – Humanising healthcare through social prescribing
Social prescribing is an approach that enables a range of stakeholders – often based in health-care – to connect individuals to non-clinical or non-therapy services and activities to empower them and improve their mental well-being. The Arts on Prescription model we use in our Interreg BSR project is one approach to social prescribing.
1 February, 2024
Mental health at work high on the political agenda
In 2023 the European Commission established tackling psychosocial risks at work as one of its key commitments in the Comprehensive Action on Mental Health. In 2024, the political commitments to improving mental health at work have not slowed down – in fact, on the contrary, action has only intensified both in the EU and the Baltic Sea Region.
29 January, 2024
NDPHS Partnership Annual Conference at the ministerial level gives a strong mandate to continue the work
On 17 January 2024, the Partnership Annual Conference convened in Stockholm to celebrate 20 years of collaboration within the NDPHS framework. Health Ministers from Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden, the State Secretary of Health and Care Services from Norway, and WHO Regional Director Dr. Hans Kluge gathered in Stockholm to reaffirm their commitment to the Partnership.
25 January, 2024
The conference “Connecting science and well-being: Addressing antibiotic resistance through prevention and health promotion”
The thematic Side Event to the 16th Partnership Annual Conference, which took place the day before the ministerial meeting, investigated the science of prevention and behavioural insights in the work against antimicrobial resistance. Presentations and a panel discussion by regional experts on the topic took the participants on a journey from the gut to the globe.
23 January, 2024
The NDPHS Secretariat is looking for an intern
Gain practical knowledge and professional experience related to the NDPHS activities, we are looking for a motivated trainee to join our team in the NDPHS Secretariat in Stockholm, Sweden. The programme grants a monthly scholarship. Read more what is in it for you and begin 2024 with a unique experience!
11 December, 2023
WHO report on Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases “Learning from the Arts”
There is a growing momentum to integrate the arts into the practices of the health-care sector. Research on the effects of arts on health and well-being has increased during the past two decades. There is now a body of evidence that arts interventions play a significant role in the prevention of ill health, promotion of good health and management and treatment of disease. The report summarizes the value of arts interventions for health, focusing on initiatives into prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases.
5 December, 2023
World Antimicrobial Awareness Week: Global Collaborations and Collective Action
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major global health threat across human, animal, plant, food, and environmental sectors. AMR is also one of the thematic areas of the NDPHS and every year in November, we join the global campaign to raise awareness and understanding about this pressing health threat.
20 November, 2023
All News >