World TB Day

World TB Day is an opportunity to raise awareness about the burden of tuberculosis (TB) worldwide and the status of TB prevention and care efforts. It is also an opportunity to mobilize political and social commitment for further progress in efforts to end TB.


Currently, about one quarter of the world’s population is infected with TB. In the last five years for which data are available (2011–15), new tuberculosis (TB) cases fell in the WHO European Region at an average rate of 4.3% per year – the fastest decline in the world. Nevertheless, TB remains a major public health threat at both the global and the regional levels. The European Region includes nine of the top 30 countries with the highest burden of multidrug-resistant TB in the world.

On the move to end TB

WHO aims to end TB at all levels. The TB action plan for the WHO European Region 2016–2020 is the main guiding instrument for European countries to make progress in line with the global End TB Strategy 2016–2035, the Sustainable Development Goals (target 3.3) and Health 2020, the WHO European health policy framework.

Working together in strong partnerships, WHO/Europe is assisting Member States with, for example, scaling up new rapid TB diagnostics tests, providing faster and more effective treatment in order to make further progress in TB prevention and care. Boosting research to develop new and more effective TB vaccines is also of key importance.

Did you know?

In 1882, a German physician and scientist, Robert Koch, while utilizing a new staining method, applied it to the sputum specimen of TB patients and revealed for the first time the causal agent of the disease: Mycobacterium tuberculosis. He made his result public at the Physiological Society of Berlin on 24 March 1882, in a famous lecture entitled “ÜberTuberculose”, which was published three weeks later. Since 1982, 24 March has been known as World TB Day.