Raising awareness of World Tuberculosis Day

World Tuberculosis Day is a worldwide event that aims to raise public awareness of tuberculosis and the efforts made to prevent and treat this disease. This event is held on 24 March each year and is promoted by organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO).

 What do people do?

Various World Tuberculosis Day events and activities are organized by various organizations involved in the Stop TB Partnership. WHO is an United Nations’ (UN) health authority that works with this network to promote World Tuberculosis Day each year. Campaign activities include:

  • Community discussion groups that are organized to look at ways to prevent TB.
  • Award ceremonies or other events to honor the life and work of those who dedicate their lives to prevent and fight against TB.
  • Photo exhibitions that showcase images to raise worldwide awareness of TB.
  • Charity events to raise funds for disease control (of TB) in countries that need assistance.

People, community groups and government agencies may also take the time to work with broadcast, print and online media to promote stories on the awareness of tuberculosis and the works of those who help fight against the spread of the disease.

Public Life & Theme

World Tuberculosis Day is an observance and is not a public holiday. The theme for this year is “Unite to End TB” – Globally. Where as for South Africa, we have adopted  the National Department of Health theme which is: “Tackling TB in the cities.”


Tuberculosis, or TB, is an infectious bacterial disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which most commonly affects the lungs. It is transmitted from person to person via droplets from the throat and lungs of people with the disease. WHO estimates that the largest number of new TB cases in 2005 occurred in south-east Asia, which accounted for 34 percent of incident cases globally. However, the estimated incidence rate in sub-Saharan Africa is nearly twice that of south-east Asia.

World Tuberculosis Day, annually held on March 24, 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. World Tuberculosis Day can be traced back to 1982, when the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease launched World TB Day on March 24 that year, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Dr Koch’s discovery.

In 1996, the World Health Organization (WHO) joined the union and other organizations to promote World TB Day. The Stop TB Partnership, called the Stop TB Initiative at the time of its inception, was established in 1998. It is a network of organizations and countries fighting tuberculosis. WHO works with this partnership on to support the activities and events that take place on World Tuberculosis Day each year.


Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa along with the CaSIPO Project will be running an extensive social media campaign, as well as campaigns in the communities addressing and tackling the stigma surrounding TB. We will also be publishing TB success stories, the facts and myths around TB as well as any other information regarding TB that is relevant.

Be sure to check out the Facebook and Twitter handles of HPCA and CaSIPO during this month as well as the HPCA website, and the ehospice South African edition page.