Tuberculosis: Awareness and prevention are still needed

On the World Tuberculosis Day, EU vows to continue with efforts against desease's spreading

Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis

On the World Tuberculosis Day taking place on Sunday 24 March, the European Commission aims to raise awareness about the burden and prevention of tuberculosis as well as to mobilise efforts in the fight against the disease. Although every hour, 30 people are diagnosed with tuberculosis in Europe, overall, the decrease in tuberculosis cases observed in most countries is reassuring. Still, sustained efforts are needed to reach the 80% reduction target in the tuberculosis incidence rate in 2030 compared to 2015.

The EU Member States have reiterated their commitment to end the tuberculosis epidemic by 2030 at a high-level United Nations meeting in September 2018. Therefore, I call on leaders in the EU and beyond, to boost their public health measures against tuberculosis hand in hand with other sectors. Existing tools and good practices should be better implemented, and focus on people's needs. Together with our agencies, the Commission will continue to support such efforts from different policy angles – including funding, research, fight against antimicrobial resistance, prevention, early diagnosis and linkage to treatment and care. So let's make tuberculosis history!” European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis said.

The EU policy initiatives and activities to help Member States meet the Sustainable Development Goal of ending the AIDS and tuberculosis epidemics by 2030 and to fight hepatitis and other communicable diseases are outlined in the 2018 "Commission Staff Working Document on combatting HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis and tuberculosis in the European Union and neighbouring countries".

Under Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme, the Commission has also already invested over €120m in tuberculosis research. EU-funded projects are delivering new innovative tools and strategies to combat tuberculosis, including rapid diagnostic tests and more effective vaccines and treatments.

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