Message from the Minister of Health World Tuberculosis Day

Tuberculosis (TB) is preventable and curable, yet it remains one of the most common infectious diseases worldwide. March 24 marks World Tuberculosis Day, providing us with an opportunity to raise awareness of the disease, and to encourage efforts to eliminate it. In Canada, rates of TB are low; however, Indigenous peoples continue to be disproportionately affected.

The Government of Canada’s Tuberculosis Prevention and Control in Canada: A Federal Framework for Action and the Strategy Against Tuberculosis for First Nations On-Reserve are targeted at reducing the burden of TB in Canada, specifically within vulnerable populations. The framework and strategy focus on enhancing current efforts to prevent and control active TB disease; facilitating the identification and treatment of latent TB infection for those at high risk of developing active TB disease; and championing collaborative action to address the underlying risk factors for TB.

The Government of Canada also partners with communities, provinces and territories, researchers, and other experts to raise awareness and to decrease the stigma and fear often associated with TB. We are taking a whole-of-government approach to develop and implement innovative ways to reduce the rates of TB among the most affected populations.

For example, the Government of Canada is supporting the Taima TB 3HP Project, which will assess the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of a shorter course of treatment for latent TB infection among persons at increased risk so that they do not develop active TB disease. The study will also be assessing if more people are willing to start treatment and if more people will go on to complete full treatment for latent TB infection if the treatment is shorter. As well, Health Canada supports access to equitable, culturally appropriate and timely diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care through regional TB programs for First Nations living on reserve.

On World TB Day, I commend all partners across the country who are continuing their efforts to eliminate TB. I also encourage all Canadians to become more aware of this disease and what they can do to help end it in Canada and around the world.

The Honourable Jane Philpott, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Health


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