Every March 24, the international community recognizes World Tuberculosis (TB) Day. This year, it comes at a time when communities across the globe are also working to control another devastating respiratory pandemic, COVID-19. While we can still reflect on the progress made in fighting TB, today serves as a worldwide call to acknowledge the tremendous global impact of contagious infectious diseases, and the need for accelerated action to address them and safeguard global health everywhere.
TB, the world's deadliest infectious disease, kills 4,000 people every day. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is committed to combating infectious diseases, including by ending TB. An infectious-disease threat anywhere can be a threat everywhere. Contagious infectious diseases cause suffering and kill millions each year; they also present significant obstacles to global development and prosperity. TB disproportionately affects the poorest populations, and its complications and treatment, and the stigma about the disease, can drive individuals and families into further poverty. On average, TB patients and their households lose 50 percent of their annual income over the course of the illness. Addressing this epidemic is crucial to advancing communities on the Journey to Self-Reliance.
As the U.S. Government's lead Agency for global TB efforts, USAID works around the world to reach every person with TB, cure those in need of treatment, and prevent the spread of new infections. Since 2014, USAID's partners have treated 12.2 million people successfully, including 330,000 individuals with drug-resistant TB, and helped achieve nearly a 50-percent reduction in TB-related deaths across priority countries. Our efforts have strengthened national capacity to prevent and control TB infections and improved diagnostic and laboratory networks, which has built a crucial foundation for responding to COVID-19 and other pandemics.
USAID's new TB business model, the Global Accelerator to End TB, has helped bring about even better results. Designed to accelerate progress towards reaching the targets set by the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on TB, the Accelerator is increasing the commitment and capacity of governments, civil society, and the private sector to fight TB. Since the Accelerator's launch in 2018, USAID has signed TB partnership statements with Ministries of Health for stronger collaboration to achieve country-level TB targets in 80 percent of our priority countries. USAID also has made awards to engage nearly 30 local organizations in the response, including community and faith-based groups.
Collectively, these are vital steps in the global fight against TB, but we still have much work to do to end TB and control the threat of other pandemics We look forward in the future to forging more local partnerships and accelerating further action to help countries end TB and prepare for other outbreaks of contagious infectious diseases.