World Tuberculosis Day – Ministerial Message

March 24th marks World Tuberculosis Day. As Minister of Health, and a physician who has worked internationally, I am aware that Tuberculosis (TB) is an important global health issue. TB is one of the most common infectious diseases in our world today. With an estimated 9 million cases in 2014, TB was responsible for 1.5 million deaths worldwide.

The rate of TB in Canada is among the lowest in the world. However, while its incidence has been decreasing steadily over the past 30 years, First Nations and Inuit are more vulnerable to TB and are disproportionately affected.

Our Government is committed to working with First Nations and Inuit communities to improve wellness and prevent disease. By providing diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care through regional TB programs, Health Canada is helping to stop the spread of TB. The Department has also launched a Framework that will evaluate the effectiveness of TB programs in First Nations and Inuit communities.

Our Government is also committed to engaging with First Nations and Inuit communities, the provincial and territorial governments, scientific experts and partners to help reduce TB by developing scientific, evidence-based advice on prevention and control. For example, we are partnering on a collaborative project with the Government of Nunavut and the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute that will explore shorter treatment periods for patients who have not developed active disease. We are also investing in several community-based initiatives that will increase awareness, and identify and treat patients with latent TB infection in northern communities.

By sharing best practices and working with our stakeholders, the Government of Canada is working toward the World Health Organization’s goal of eliminating TB by 2050. On this World Tuberculosis day, let’s start a conversation, learn about the health risks Canadians face, and strive together to achieve this global goal.

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


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