Heads of State pledge support for a successful UN High-Level Meeting on TB during Africa Union Summit
H.E. Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa and H.E. Mr. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, are the first Heads of State to commit to attending the UN High-Level Meeting on TB on September 26.
The Presidents announced their commitment on Sunday (July 1) at the opening of the 31st Africa Union (AU) Heads of State Summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania. President Kagame currently holds the Chair of the Africa Union and hosted a meeting of nearly 20 African Heads of State to discuss the Common Africa Position on the UN High-Level Meeting (HLM) on TB.
"I’m committed to make every effort to attend the High-Level Meeting, and call on my fellow Heads of State to also commit to participate in this historic meeting", said President Ramaphosa. "As Heads of State in the Africa Region, we understand that health deserves a place at the highest political levels. The issue of TB clearly goes beyond the purview of Ministries of Health because of the many political, economic and social determinants of TB, and our ability to help mobilize the resources needed to effectively fight TB."
President Kagame, highlighting the urgent threat of TB in the region, said "TB is one of the major diseases in Africa and sixteen of thirty designated world’s high TB burden countries are on the continent. It is in this context that the AU member states Experts and Ministers of Health endorsed the Common Africa Position on TB that will be presented during this meeting ahead of the United Nations High Level Meeting on TB in September in New York."
Africa Union countries have played a central role in leading the call for increased global cooperation on TB. In August 2016, Ministers of Health from the Africa Region were the first regional group to call for the HLM on TB. African Leaders at the AU Summit endorsed the Common African Position on the UN High-Level Meeting on TB, which outlines the commitments and priorities of AU Heads of State for the HLM, including agreement to reach 90% of all people who need TB treatment and 90% of people in key populations, achieve at least 90% treatment success, and to intensify investment by AU member states in Isoniazid Preventive Therapy.
"The UN High-Level Meeting on TB is a historic opportunity to ensure TB gets on the agenda of the Heads of States and Governments. The TB community is grateful to President Ramaphosa and President Kagame for their leadership and for making it clear that TB deserves a place at the top of the political agenda. We now look to other Heads of State to follow their example and pledge their commitment to attending the UNHLM in September", said Dr. Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership.
"TB is now the leading public health threat to Africa’s socio-economic transformation agenda. The Common Africa Position provides an historic opportunity for Africa, a continent disproportionately affected by TB, to highlight the key commitments and priority actions needed to end the disease by 2030" said Her Excellency Amira El Fadil Commissioner for Social Affairs at the African Union Commission.
Source: Stop TB Partnership