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Toronto’s Free Fourth Annual TB (Tuberculosis) Update on World TB Day

Toronto's Free Fourth Annual TB (Tuberculosis) Update on World TB Day
Toronto's Free Fourth Annual TB (Tuberculosis) Update on World TB Day

Tuberculosis (TB) is a major global health problem. These are the WHO Stop TB stats:

  • each year, 9 million new cases of TB which causes 2 million deaths
  • all countries are affected,
  • but most cases (85%) occur in Africa (30%) and Asia (55%),
  • with India and China alone accounting for 35% of all cases
  • 22 countries that account for about 80% of the world’s TB cases, and which have been given particular attention in TB control since 2000 are, in alphabetical order: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam and Zimbabwe
  • TB ranks as the eighth leading cause of death in low- and middle-income countries (seventh for men and ninth for women); among adults aged 15–59
  • ranks as the third cause of death, after HIV/AIDS and ischaemic heart disease
  • using combinations of first-line drugs, 90% of people with drug-susceptible TB can be cured in six months
  • treatment of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) – of which there are around 0.4–0.5 million cases each year –  requires use of second-line drugs (including injectable antibiotics) that are more costly and cause more severe side effects, and recommended regimens must be taken for up to two years
  • vast majority of TB cases and deaths occur in poor countries
  • this is explained by less health care access, as well as higher exposure to unhealthy and crowded living and working conditions, undernutrition, HIV infection, diabetes mellitus, smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, and several other TB risk factors
  • history has shown that improved social and economic conditions can greatly facilitate TB control, while economic crises can rapidly worsen the situation

In recognition of World TB Day today, Toronto Public Health is holding its Fourth Annual TB Update for primary care providers.

Please note that the Fourth Annual TB Update is a free workshop for healthcare professionals and agencies, which  takes place on March 24, 2011 at Metro Hall, Rooms 308 – 309.

TB is a Toronto health issue.

Toronto's Free Fourth Annual TB (Tuberculosis) Update on World TB Day
Toronto's Free Fourth Annual TB (Tuberculosis) Update on World TB Day

March 23, 2011

Toronto Public Health to raise awareness of tuberculosis on World TB Day

Toronto Public Health is collaborating with community partners to promote awareness of tuberculosis (TB) on World TB Day, designated by the World Health Organization as March 24 each year. Tuberculosis continues to be a major global health issue.

In Toronto, 255 cases of TB disease were reported in 2009. The vast majority of people who develop TB in Toronto come from countries where TB is more common, and where access to testing and treatment may be limited. Toronto Public Health provides nursing support to TB patients and their families, provides contact followup for people exposed to infectious TB, and works with community groups, health care professionals, and newcomer agencies to increase TB awareness and to advocate for timely medical followup and treatment.

“Many people think TB is a disease of the past, but it is still very much an issue in Toronto. It is also preventable, treatable, and curable,” said Dr. Elizabeth Rea, Associate Medical Officer of Health with Toronto Public Health.

Recently, the Toronto Board of Health called on the provincial government to remove the three-month OHIP waiting period for landed immigrants. This would enable timely diagnosis and crucial treatment of communicable diseases, like TB, that pose a risk to the health of individuals and communities.

Clients diagnosed with TB who do not have OHIP coverage are able to receive free medication to treat TB and to have their out-patient care covered under a provincial program know as TB-UP. However, hospital care for patients who are ill with TB is not covered by OHIP. In-patient hospital care is required by 40 per cent of TB patients, and the care can be very costly. The lack of OHIP coverage is a major financial barrier for those in need of appropriate health care services.

As part of this year’s World TB Day initiatives, Toronto Public Health is holding its Fourth Annual TB Update for primary care providers, and will focus on TB/HIV co-infection and pediatric TB issues. Toronto Public Health will also co-host a workshop for agencies serving newcomers, and is offering TB skin test workshops for health care providers in long-term care facilities.

More information is available on the Toronto Public Health website at

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. Toronto’s government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


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Board of Health Pleads for Provincial Government to Axe OHIP Waiting Period for Landed Immigrants