WITH THE OFFICIAL first day of spring coming up, March is a month full of happenings; the mathematical constant 3.14 has a spotlight on the 14th with Pi Day, the Lenten season, and St. Patrick’s Day festivities are on the 17th. So other than the number enthusiasts, Christians, and pub-goers, is there another day in March we can all celebrate, perhaps as Canadians?

In fact, yes, it’s March 24.

Why March 24? Well, it’s World TB Day. TB as in tuberculosis. Now, I at first did not realize Canada’s affiliation, but here is why I think we should all be proud: Canada has provided over one-third of all funding for the worldwide Stop TB Partnership. The Canadian International Development Agency helped launched the initiative, TB-Reach, with multi-year grant support. TB-Reach is a champion for the innovative diagnostic tool, GeneXpert.

Tuberculosis is a silent killer—a disease that does not have the recognition as other pandemics we often hear about. In fact, people in Africa living with HIV/AIDS will most likely die from TB, not because of the HIV/AIDS itself. Today, more than two billion people have TB. I often wonder why such a major disease has such little support compared to other major health campaigns. It takes research and thought to see its huge impact on global health—steps which our own country obviously has done. Way to go Canada for recognizing TB and asking the world to help.

Rochelle Buenviaje
U of O alumna