March 24, 2023
MCHD observes World TB Day
MOBILE, Ala. — Each year, the Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) recognizes World TB Day on March 24. This annual event commemorates the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacillus that causes tuberculosis (TB).
This year’s theme is “Yes! We can end TB!” This aims to inspire hope and encourage high-level leadership, increased investments, faster uptake of new recommendations, adoption of innovations, accelerated action, and multisectoral collaboration to combat the TB epidemic. This year is critical, with opportunities to raise visibility and political commitment at the 2023 United Nations High-Level Meeting on TB.
The World Health Organization (WHO) will also issue a call to action with partners urging member states to accelerate the rollout of the new WHO-recommended shorter all-oral treatment regimens for drug-resistant TB.
TB remains one of the world’s deadliest infectious killers. Each day, close to 4,400 people lose their lives to TB, and close to 30,000 people fall ill with this preventable and curable disease. Global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 74 million lives since the year 2000.
MCHD has a close connection to treating TB. Its current headquarters at 251 North Bayou Street in Mobile once served as the Sixth District Tuberculosis Association’s hospital. The facility was named in 1973 after Frank S. Keeler, who served as the association’s president.
From October 2021 through September 2022, MCHD’s tuberculosis team provided care for 12 patients with active disease and five patients suspected of having active disease. In addition, MCHD staff often travel to patients’ homes five days a week for six months or more to directly observe therapy and monitor symptoms.
“As we recognize World TB Day, we take the opportunity to remind Mobilians that transmission still occurs locally,” said Yvonne Baynard, who oversees MCHD’s Tuberculosis program. “If you have spent time with someone with TB, been around people where TB is common or who live or work in healthcare or congregate setting, seek evaluation from your healthcare provider or call us at 251-690-8868.”
The COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with conflicts across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East and socioeconomic inequities, has reversed years of progress made in the fight to end TB, and placed an even heavier burden on those affected, especially the most vulnerable. In its latest Global Tuberculosis Report, WHO highlighted that for the first time in over a decade, estimated TB incidence and deaths have increased.