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Tuberculosis: Root Causes Must Be Addressed

To fight tuberculosis, root causes must be addressed, says Secretary-General

24 March 2008 - Tackling tuberculosis - a disease which still kills 4,000 people every day - requires dealing with its root causes, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today on the occasion of World TB Day.

The theme of this year's Day is "I am stopping TB," and it is a pledge "we must uphold as we battle the epidemic throughout the year and into the future," Mr. Ban said in a message.

Multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB), which is man-made, and the even more lethal extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) are both spreading.

"If we are to prevent a virtually untreatable tuberculosis epidemic, we must tackle the roots of the problem: poor services, poor supplies, poor prescribing and poor use of drugs," the Secretary-General observed.

The fight against tuberculosis "can be won only with the collective commitment of millions of individuals - donors and researchers, doctors and health-care workers, patients and family members."

As a result of collaboration among a range of partners, the proportion of people falling ill with TB is declining. But the advances are not being made at the same rate as population growth, Mr. Ban said, adding that the disease becomes ever more deadly when it overlaps with the HIV epidemic.

He also urged a stepped up global response to save lives from tuberculosis, noting that the UN will convene a Global Leaders' HIV/TB Forum this June.


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