Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that often affects the lungs. It can be spread through the air through the simple act of coughing. While the coughing associated with TB is loud, the disease itself can be a silent killer.
In 2015, TB became the deadliest infectious disease in the world. TB’s most heartbreaking targets are its youngest ones. Last year, 1 million children under the age of 14 fell ill with TB. 140,000 children died.
Over 53 million otherwise healthy children carry the TB infection. The clock is ticking for many of them. Without preventive treatment, they too could develop TB at any time.
No child should die of TB. It can be prevented, diagnosed, and cured. But all too often, children with TB remain sick, suffering, and left in the shadows. In other words, unheard. It’s time to change that.
As a family disease, TB can swiftly and silently affect all members of a household. If one person has TB, all members are at risk. But it is children who are the most vulnerable.
All too often, TB draws an already vulnerable family deeper into hardship. Many families can’t afford treatment or even to lose out on days of work or school.
Unfortunately, these are not isolated incidents.
It is often the most marginalized and most disadvantaged who are affected by TB.
TB is a major killer of children. And still, the majority of children — a surprising 64% — are never even diagnosed. Even in regions where children have access to healthcare, TB symptoms are often mistaken for other common childhood illnesses, and doctors don’t test for it. As a result, children often can’t get the help they need.
If we are to end this global epidemic, we need to put in place health systems that recognize every child at risk, and that ensure rapid access to appropriate care, everywhere.
Based on known cases from 2014. Source: World Health Organization Global Tuberculosis Report 2015
In 2015, TB became the world’s deadliest infectious disease.
About one third of the world's population (2 billion people) is infected with TB. These people appear healthy, but are still at risk of developing the disease at any time, and then transmitting it to others. But development of the disease can be avoided with preventive treatment.
Each year, almost 10 million people develop TB. At least 1 million of them are children.
An additional 10 million children are orphaned by TB.
TB is the leading cause of death among people with HIV.
If untreated, each adult with active TB will infect between 10 and 15 people every year.
1.5 million people die of TB each year.
Drug-resistant TB can be spread through the air just like drug-sensitive or 'ordinary' TB. Of those on treatment, only half survive.
Source: World Health Organization, 2015.
Increase awareness of TB
Maternal and child health leaders from across all sectors and at all levels of the health system need to understand TB and its symptoms to diagnose children with the disease.
Improve cross-sector collaboration at the country level
This is needed to provide earlier diagnosis, prevention, and treatment with the best available medicines for families affected by TB, close to where they live.
Innovate to improve the global response to the epidemic
We need short, safe, and user-friendly drug regimens to help improve treatment compliance, prevent drug resistance, and save lives. (Currently, treating TB means taking medicine every day for 6–24 months.) New drugs must be adopted and used for those in need. We also need simple point-of-care diagnostics and a better vaccine that can help us finally rid the world of TB for good.
A rise in funding is needed to tackle the problem.
There’s still no simple way to prevent, diagnose, and treat children with TB. But with critical investment in the development of child-friendly TB medicines, UNITAID and others have taken an important first step in ensuring availability of medicines in the correct doses for children with drug-sensitive TB.
Now we need to take action to make sure children worldwide have access to effective medicines.
Without action, there will be more drug-resistant TB. As a result, the cost of fighting TB will continue to rise. World leaders now recognize the impact of TB, including what it’s doing to children.
However, even as global agendas align around the need to prevent pandemics, end preventable deaths, and build resilient health systems, TB still lacks the critical funding it needs. There is still a need for greater political will and coordinated action to provide the diagnostic tools, treatments, funding, and resources to achieve ambitious targets.
And that’s why LouderThanTB was formed; to meet these issues head-on and make noise for the children who cannot do it for themselves. But we can’t do it alone. We need your help.
Relative to the burden of the disease, the actual investment in fighting TB is massively inadequate. The new Global Plan to End TB calls for $56 billion between now and 2020.
And what happens if we don’t get there? Drug resistance. Resistance is already a global health threat and will cost the world an estimated $16.7 trillion in the next 35 years if no further action is taken.
Listen to our Coalition of Change
Organizations from around the world are raising their voices in support of a unified vision: to one day silence TB for good, so that no child will have to die from this preventable and curable disease. Our partnership grows louder each day.
TB Alliance is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the discovery and development of better, faster-acting, and affordable tuberculosis drugs that are available to those who need them. We envision a world where no one dies of tuberculosis. Since our inception in 2000, TB Alliance has led the global search for and development of new TB regimens, catalyzing the field and convening cross-sector partnerships to forge the progress that is urgently needed for better TB treatments.
UNICEF works to give a fair chance in life to every child, everywhere, especially the most disadvantaged. Founded in 1946, UNICEF is present in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
UNITAID is engaged in finding new ways to prevent, treat and diagnose HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria more quickly, more cheaply and more effectively. It takes game-changing ideas and turns them into practical solutions that can help accelerate the end of the three diseases. Established in 2006 by Brazil, Chile, France, Norway and the United Kingdom to provide an innovative approach to global health, UNITAID plays an important part in the global effort to defeat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, by facilitating and speeding up the availability of improved health tools, including medicines and diagnostics. UNITAID’s primary investment funded the development and availability of child-friendly TB medicines in the correct doses.
The Stop TB Partnership is leading the way to a world without tuberculosis (TB), a disease that is curable but still kills three people every minute. Founded in 2001, the Partnership's mission is to serve every person who is vulnerable to TB and ensure that high-quality treatment is available to all who need it.
About the World Health Organization Global TB Programme: The Global TB Programme at the World Health Organization (WHO) guides global action for a world free of TB by advancing universal access to TB prevention, care and control; framing the response to threats through norms, standards and strategy; technically supporting Member States; monitoring the burden and response; and promoting research and innovation. WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system.
EDCTP is a partnership between 14 African and 14 European countries supported by the European Union under Horizon 2020. It aims to support collaborative clinical research that accelerates the development of safe and accessible interventions against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as well as other poverty-related and neglected infectious diseases in sub-Saharan Africa.
ONE is a campaigning and advocacy organization of 7 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Co-founded by Bono, we raise awareness to combat AIDS and preventable diseases, increase agriculture and nutrition investments, and demand transparency so governments are accountable to their citizens.
Founded in 2003 at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, ICAP delivers transformative solutions to strengthen health systems in over 20 countries.
The Global TB Program at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital leverages the complementary disciplines of TB immunology, clinical care, diagnostics, prevention, and treatment to provide comprehensive care and support clinical and translational research. The Global TB Program uses partnerships with other members of the Baylor College of Medicine family and collaborators at other institutions to develop effective, sustainable, standardized methods of diagnosing tuberculosis in children and is attempting to identify biomarkers correlating with progression from tuberculosis infection to disease, as well as standardizing screening processes to better characterize epidemiological risk factors for tuberculosis.
South Africa has the fourth highest TB rate in the world, and the Desmond Tutu TB Centre adopts an outward focus and holistic approach toward understanding and combating this TB epidemic. The Centre is an important asset, not only for research but also for interaction with communities. Central to the Centre’s work is the feeding back of information to appropriate health services and into the communities where the research is conducted. DTTC has a strong partnership with local government as well as a strong focus on clinical TB research in children, which impacts practice and policy.
RESULTS is a movement of passionate, committed everyday people. Together they use their voices to influence political decisions that improve access to education, health, and economic opportunity for those who need it most.
Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths: A Promise Renewed (APR) brings together governments, civil society, the private sector and individual citizens to stop women and children from dying of causes that are easily avoidable.
ACTION is a partnership of locally-rooted organizations around the world that advocate for life-saving care for millions of people who are threatened by preventable diseases. We work as equal partners to bring together efforts across borders to increase investments and build political support for global health.
CNS documents voices of the key affected populations in struggles for seeking development justice, with a special focus on health and gender justices, and syndicates these news feature articles to a range of print, online and social media, under Creative Commons (CC) attribution license. CNS also provides communication support to like-minded partners who are working dedicatedly towards development justice.
Every Breath Counts is a global campaign to raise awareness around the global burden of pneumonia and to catalyze action against this preventable and treatable disease of the poor and marginalized children of the world.
Irish Aid is the Irish Government’s official aid programme, working on behalf of Irish people to address poverty and hunger in some of the world’s poorest countries.
Policy Cures’ mission is to provide innovative ideas and accurate analysis to accelerate development and uptake of new drugs, vaccines, diagnostics and other products for diseases of the developing world.
PSI is a leading global health organization that focuses on serious challenges like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), access to family planning, barriers to maternal health, non-communicable diseases and sanitation. PSI strengthens the capacity of public and private providers to support the continuum of TB care from screening to successful diagnosis and treatment.
Save the Children invests in childhood – every day, in times of crisis and for our future. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. By transforming children's lives now, we change the course of their future and ours.
Treatment Action Group is an independent AIDS research and policy think tank. TAG’s TB/HIV Project works to strengthen global and U.S.-focused advocacy to increase funding and ensure ambitious research, programs, and policies for people with TB and HIV. TAG’s work on pediatric TB promotes earlier inclusion of children in research to close evidence gaps for new tools, and improved access to new, advantaged treatments for children and families around the world.
Aeras is a nonprofit, global biotech advancing the development of new tuberculosis vaccines for the world, in partnership with other biotech, pharmaceutical, and academic organizations.
The Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC) is a coalition of more than 25 nonprofits that works to save and improve lives by encouraging the research and development of essential health technologies and advancing policies to accelerate the creation of new drugs, vaccines, diagnostics, and other health tools.
Jhpiego is an international, non-profit health organization affiliated with the Johns Hopkins University. For 40 years and in over 155 countries, Jhpiego has worked to prevent the needless deaths of women and their families. Jhpiego works with health experts, governments and community leaders to provide high-quality health care for their people. Jhpiego develops strategies to help countries care for themselves by training competent health care workers, strengthening health systems and improving delivery of care. Jhpiego designs innovative, effective and low-cost health care solutions to ensure a level of care for women and their families. These practical, evidence-based interventions are breaking down barriers to high-quality health care for the world's most vulnerable populations.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare. MSF offers assistance to people based on need, irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation. MSF's Access Campaign works to increase access to, and the development of, life-saving and life-prolonging medicines, diagnostic tests and vaccines for patients in MSF programmes and beyond.
CORE Group is an organization that supports effective implementation at scale of health-related programs that aim to end child and maternal death and enhance family well-being. We convene the Community Health Network, which brings together more than 70 organizations – as well as scholars, advocates and donors – to advance community health.
With more than 30 years of experience, FCB Health produces work that is both strategically relevant and creatively compelling. The agency provides its clients with multichannel capabilities, including payer strategy and marketing, professional education, scientific services, strategic planning, and media services. In 2015 it was named “Agency of the Year,” and for the past 5 out of 6 years an FCB Health company was named Most Creative Agency by Medical Advertising News.
The Global Fund is a 21st-century partnership designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics. As a partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by the diseases, the Global Fund mobilizes and invests nearly US$4 billion a year to support programs run by local experts in more than 100 countries. By challenging barriers and embracing innovative approaches, we are working together to better serve people affected by the diseases.
Kick TB & HIV is a TB awareness program implemented by the South African National Department of Health that seeks to create awareness of TB by fusing soccer and social mobilization to create a platform through which appropriate TB messages are conveyed in a unique and captivating manner.
Operation ASHA is serving 14 million people in India and Cambodia by providing a full spectrum of services for tuberculosis prevention and control for people living at the bottom of the pyramid. This is done by using a community driven model & eCompliance technology to achieve a 87% treatment success rate.
EGPAF is the global leader in the fight against pediatric HIV/AIDS and has reached nearly 23 million women with services to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies. It currently supports more than 6,000 health facilities and works in 14 countries to implement prevention, care, and treatment services; to further advance innovative research; and to execute global advocacy activities that bring dramatic change to the lives of millions of women, children, and families worldwide.
The Sentinel Project on Pediatric Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis is a global partnership of advocates collaborating to raise the visibility of children affected by this disease, and to share evidence and resources that can increase their access to prompt and effective treatment.
Headquartered in Dakar, Senegal, Speak Up Africa is a creative communications and advocacy organization focusing on public health and education and dedicated to catalyzing African leadership, enabling policy change, securing resources, and inspiring individual action for the most pressing issues affecting Africa’s societies and future. Speak Up Africa works to improve African well being by harnessing the influence of Africa's best-known celebrities and catalyzing the engagement of policymakers to facilitate policy change.
Advance Access & Delivery (AA&D) is a new organization formed to mobilize resources and commitment to eliminate diseases of poverty on an urgent basis through initiatives like the Zero TB Cities Project.
Founded in 1985, amfAR is dedicated to ending the global AIDS epidemic through innovative research. amfAR’s Countdown to a Cure research initiative is designed to intensify cure-focused HIV research through strategic investments of $100 million over the next five years.
Vital Strategies envisions a world where every person is protected by a strong public health system. Our team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research, and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change. Vital Strategies was formed when The Union's North America branch and World Lung Foundation joined forces. It is an affiliate of The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union).
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world's largest humanitarian organization, providing assistance without discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. Tuberculosis is one the priority area in health agenda for IFRC. Red Cross Red Crescent volunteers are involved at all levels in the fight against TB. IFRC supports and implements health initiatives related to reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, and is committed to “Making Every Mother and Child Count.”
Since its founding as a global scientific organization in 1920, The Union has drawn from the best evidence and expertise to advance solutions to public health challenges affecting people living in poverty. The Union is currently progressing solutions for tuberculosis, HIV, tobacco-related diseases and other lung and non-communicable diseases.
The Global Coalition of TB Activists (GCTA) has developed from the original Community Task Force into a global platform that bridges the gap between civil society organizations and other stakeholders, while ensuring that community is involved in all TB processes. Its primary purpose is to ensure that the communities affected by TB are at the centre of all advocacy efforts. Since its inception in March 2013, the GCTA has actively contributed to the global TB agenda through its network of activists, achieving a number of significant milestones along the way. The GCTA was formalized as an organized body in 2014 and has a physical space, located in New Delhi, India. The coalition has also founded a strong online presence through a formal website and several other modes of social media.
Ptbnet is an international network of paediatricians promoting clinical orientated research in the field of childhood tuberculosis by sharing and developing ideas and research protocols. With a focus on childhood TB in Europe, we have members in 22 countries.
World Vision is a global Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.
The World Bank Group provides financing, state-of-the-art analysis, and policy advice to help countries expand access to quality, affordable health care; protects people from falling into poverty or worsening poverty due to illness; and promotes investments in all sectors that form the foundation of healthy societies.