Sounding the alarm to end Tuberculosis (TB) | Western Cape Government


Sounding the alarm to end Tuberculosis (TB)

16 March 2021

To avoid the risk of losing thousands of lives to a curable and preventable disease, Western Cape Government Health, City of Cape Town and their partners are encouraging members of the public to support their ‘sound the alarm – the clock is ticking’ campaign leading up to World Tuberculosis (TB) Day, 24 March.

The theme for World TB Day 2021 is ‘The Clock is Ticking’, highlighting the urgency with which we must step up and increase our efforts to find, treat and end one of one of the world’s leading infectious diseases, which globally kills around 4 000 people every day, among them 700 children.

With just over one year left to fulfil the United Nations Political Declaration of TB by the agreed December 2022 deadline, time is passing quickly. This is especially critical in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic that has put End TB progress at risk, as well as our drive towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.

Between 17 and 24 March, people can show solidarity with people and families affected by TB by participating in this year’s ‘sound the alarm – the clock is ticking’ activities:

  • Set their alarms to go off at noon every day during the week leading up to World TB Day;
  • Sound the hooters of their vehicles (car, bus, minibus taxi, train, ship) at 8:00 every day during the week leading up to World TB Day;
  • Trigger the sirens of emergency response vehicles;
  • Ring the bell at places of worship;
  • Say a special prayer at places of worship; and
  • Light up local landmarks, especially town hall clocks, in red.

World TB Day is an opportunity to raise awareness about the burden of TB in the Western Cape and the status of TB prevention and care efforts. The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) noted a 30% drop in TB diagnosis in the first five months of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. In a context where 42% of people sick with TB were already not being diagnosed and treated, this is seen by many, as a crisis.

Let us continue to encourage people to undergo regular free testing and treatment of TB at the local clinic; start and adhere to TB preventive treatment, and active case finding in the community; and ensure that everyone understands why the clock is ticking for TB.

Download World TB day poster 

Media Enquiries: 

Byron la Hoe
WCGH Communications
Cell: 072 368 0596