Last week thousands of people representing hundreds of organizations from around the world gathered in Rio de Janeiro for the third UN-backed “Stop TB Partners’ Forum.”
One of the people that attended was Dr. Lee Reichman of the Stop TB partnerships. He is also the executive director of the New Jersey Medical School National Tuberculosis Center and principal investigator for the National Institute of Health (NIH) and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) grants related to tuberculosis.
Reichman says that health experts hope to "cut in half the number of tuberculosis-related cases and deaths by 2015.” The Stop TB Partnership was established in 2000 with its main goal being the elimination of tuberculosis as a global public health problem.
This year’s slogan, “I am stopping TB,” is the beginning of a two-year campaign to call on people everywhere to get involved in the campaign to stop the disease. “TB is one of the biggest killers…and the paradox is it’s preventable and curable,” he says. He adds that this year’s theme “calls on us to generate the political will and interest to fight TB.”
Dr. Reichman says the tools to fight TB are old and need to be revamped. “We have not had a new drug to treat TB in almost fifty years,” he says. One of the biggest problems in the fight against TB, according to most health experts, is effective diagnosis.“We need new tools to make all of these aspects more up to date, convenient and appropriate,” he says.