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Canada lights up in red

Dear Editor,

How can a disease that is preventable and curable still be persisting in so many countries around the world? Every year on March 24, the world puts a spotlight on Tuberculosis (TB), one of the oldest infectious diseases with World TB Day. To stand in solidarity with the millions of people who suffer and lost their lives to TB, Canada will be lighting up over 30 landmarks and buildings (our highest to date!) in red across the nation.

Here in Canada, progress towards TB elimination has not been moving forward for over a decade, with the incidence of TB in Inuit communities over 290 times higher than non-Indigenous populations. The COVID-19 crisis has been even more damaging to the TB epidemic, with resources that are normally used to fight TB being diverted to respond to COVID-19.

Although it is super important for us to be responding to the pandemic right now, it seems like the fight against TB is lacking in resources, making it more difficult for the millions of people affected by TB to access essential health services.

Now, especially in light of the pandemic, Canada must maintain its past level of investment and leadership in TB reach, which has helped over 2.6 million people be diagnosed and put on TB treatment. By committing CAD $85 million in TB REACH over five years, a significant step will be made to mitigate the devastating impacts COVID-19 is having on people affected by TB.

Amal Abdulrahman,

Ajax, Ontario