WHO calls for urgent action to end TB

World Health Organization
Sept. 18, 2018, 10:37 p.m.
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WHO’s 2018 Global TB Report calls for an unprecedented mobilization of national and international commitments; First-ever United Nations High-Level Meeting on TB provides historic opportunity.

18 September 2018 | New York: Fewer people fell ill and died from tuberculosis (TB) last year but countries are still not doing enough to end TB by 2030, warns the World Health Organization (WHO). Although global efforts have averted an estimated 54 million TB deaths since 2000, TB remains the world’s deadliest infectious disease.

WHO’s 2018 Global TB Report, released in New York today, calls for an unprecedented mobilization of national and international commitments. It urges political leaders gathering next week for the first-ever United Nations High-level Meeting on TB to take decisive action, building on recent moves by the leaders of India, the Russian Federation, Rwanda, and South Africa. Nearly 50 Heads of State and Government are expected to attend the meeting.

“We have never seen such high-level political attention and understanding of what the world needs to do to end TB and drug-resistant TB, said Dr.Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “We must capitalize on this new momentum and act together to end this terrible disease.”

To meet the global target of ending TB by 2030, countries need to urgently accelerate their response – including by increasing domestic and international funding to fight the disease. The WHO report provides an overview of the status of the epidemic and the challenges and opportunities countries face in responding to it.

Status of the TB epidemic

The TB response: Challenges and opportunities

Access to care and prevention:

Financing for implementation and research

“It is unacceptable that millions lose their lives, and many more suffer daily from this preventable and curable disease,” said Dr. Tereza Kasaeva, Director of WHO’s Global TB Programme.  “We need to join forces to root out this disease that has a devastating social and economic impact on those who are “left behind”, whose human rights and dignity are limited, and who struggle to access care. The time for action is now.”

WHO is guiding national and global actions to reach everyone with care, including those with TB, through a transformative health agenda and push towards Universal Health Coverage. This includes proactive engagement with civil society and other key stakeholders to jointly help countries get on track to end TB.

Historic opportunity to put the TB response on track 

Next week’s UN High-Level Meeting comes at a critical time. Ending the TB epidemic requires action beyond the health sector to address the risk factors and determinants of the disease. Commitments at the level of Heads of State will be essential to galvanize multi-sectoral action.

“We must make sure that this report and the commitments we hear next week from country leaders at the High Level Meeting on TB translate into action,” said Dr Eric Goosby, UN Special Envoy on TB. “Equally important, we must ensure that we hold our leaders accountable for the actions they promise to take.  And we must hold ourselves accountable for keeping the pressure on.”

In June this year, an Interactive Civil Society Hearing was organized by the Office of the President of the General Assembly, with the support of WHO, the Stop TB Partnership, civil society and other stakeholders as a key preparatory step towards high-level meeting.WHO continues to work closely with the Office of the President of the General Assembly in preparations for the High Level Meeting on 26 September, with civil society and partners.

Editors notes:

About the UN High-level Meeting on TB:

The United Nations General Assembly High-level Meeting on the fight against tuberculosis will take place on 26 September 2018 (find more here). The meeting follows the Global Ministerial Conference on Ending TB (Moscow, 16-17 November 2017), which resulted in high-level commitments from nearly 120 countries to accelerate the End TB response as expressed in the Moscow Declaration to End TB.


For more information on the UNHLM please access:
WHO: www.who.int/UNHLMonTB/
Stop TB Partnership: http://www.stoptb.org/global/advocacy/unhlm.asp
President of the General Assembly: https://www.un.org/pga/72/event-latest/fight-to-end-tuberculosis/

Source: WHO