Today is World TB Day, a chance to celebrate how far we’ve come in saving the lives of those infected with tuberculosis and to reflect on the many challenges that must be overcome if we are to eliminate the disease for good.

TB continues to be the second most fatal infectious disease in the world after HIV, killing 1.5 million people every year.  Whilst the majority of cases occur in developing countries, TB rates in Europe are on the rise. In fact, the UK has the highest number of TB cases in Europe, with a reported 2,985 cases in 2013 in London alone.

For many of us, this is shocking news, and the case was no different for actress Emma Thompson when her son Tindy contracted the disease in 2011 after a trip to Liberia. Tindy had to endure the 6-month long treatment that TB requires and take 9 pills a day to recover. Since then, Emma Thompson has been appointed the Mayor of London’s TB Ambassador. Watch the video below to hear more about their story.

Despite being one of the largest killers in the world,  solutions do exist to detect and treat TB.  Through UK support to organisations like The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria , 37 million lives have been saved. Ending TB is possible, but only through continued leadership and support from the UK Government.