The bacillus causing tuberculosis (TB) was identified in 1882, although the disease itself has been known for thousands of years. Yet, 132 years since the discovery of the bacillus, and 60 years since the discovery of the first anti-TB medicine, TB remains one of the major health problems for humanity.
According to WHO estimates, the Region is responsible for about 6–7% of the global burden of TB, with an estimated 670 000 TB cases in 2013 and an incidence rate of 109 per 100 000 population.
WHO declared TB a global public health emergency in 1997. Since then, major progress has been made towards the Stop TB Strategy's global targets for 2015 and the TB-related Millennium Development Goal 6 (MDG 6).
Countries have been making considerable efforts to improve their performance both in terms of the diagnosis and the treatment of TB.