Mr. Speaker, today is World Tuberculosis Day. On this important day the World Health Organization has announced the achievement of a major milestone in global efforts to fight the resurgent epidemic of tuberculosis.
Over 10 million TB patients have now been successfully treated under DOTS, the internationally recommended TB control strategy. Of these, more than 90% live in developing countries where the disease causes the most suffering, economic loss and death.
I would note as well that the TB epidemic is growing unabated in sub-Saharan Africa, where it is closely linked to HIV-AIDS and poverty, and in many of the newly independent states arising after the breakup of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, where it is exacerbated by poverty and social disruption. In some high HIV countries of sub-Saharan Africa, TB rates have quadrupled since the mid-1980s and threaten to overwhelm well established control programs.
Today I am calling on the Canadian government to put more resources into the global fight against tuberculosis and also to recognize that aboriginal communities in Canada and northern communities have rates of tuberculosis that are in many cases devastatingly high.