A giant ribbon will not hang in front of the White House. No marches will be held. The lights on the Empire State building will not shine a special color. Instead, March 24th - World TB Day -is just like most any other day. Little attention will be paid to the fact that tuberculosis is now the number one infectious disease killer in the world.
I have erred in spending nearly three decades in what I see now as the "TB rut:" 1. Failing to imagine far better tools for diagnosis and treatment, 2. Allowing immediate cost issues to overwhelm the potential and real benefits of better treatment, and 3. Failing to engage patients and communities in TB elimination efforts.
An epidemic sweeping across southern and eastern Africa reminds me of a hard truth in public health: diseases thrive in places where there is inequity and lack of opportunity. That epidemic -- HIV among adolescent girls and young women -- is threatening to roll back many gains made in the fight against HIV in the past 15 years.
Innovation comes in many forms, from brilliant technology breakthroughs in Silicon Valley to less flashy advances like a simpler way to deliver essential products. In many cases, even a low-tech innovation can improve health care in a life-changing way. All you need is a new perspective on an old problem.