On 20 - 22 March, in Berlin, Germany, The Global TB Caucus convened a summit of global health experts, civil society and parliamentarians from across the Group of 20 countries (G20), to agree on proposed actions for G20 leaders to implement in relation to TB and the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) agenda.
At the main plenary event, new country-level data projecting a future ‘worst case scenario’ for MDR-TB was unveiled by Ms Yael Selfin, Head of Macroeconomics at KPMG. The data made clear the predicted human impact of the disease, as well as the economic costs of drug-resistance, if TB is not prioritised and urgently needed action not taken.
The summit was attended by The Union’s Executive Director, José Luis Castro, who said of the new data:
“These figures highlight the unique threat that TB poses, both within the AMR agenda and in the wider context. Whilst we all hope they will not come to pass, they demonstrate that TB is a lethal combination of a disease that is not just airborne, but also drug-resistant.
This G20 focus on resistance is, then, very timely, and I hope that the German government, and other representatives here, will do everything that they can to ensure that TB is recognised as the central threat within the AMR agenda by G20 nations.”
At the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, last year, the topic of AMR was put on the group's agenda for the first time; a clear signal that global leaders recognise the severe global threat posed by drug resistance. Leaders then pledged to ‘unlock R&D into new and existing antimicrobials from a G20 value-added perspective’.
At the Berlin TB Summit Mr Castro asked G20 leaders to renew their commitment “to not only invest in R&D but also to scale-up care and prevention programmes within the G20 and beyond.”
The High-Level meeting was informed by briefings from Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director, Stop TB Partnership; Professor Eric Goosby, United Nation’s Secretary General Special Envoy on TB and Professor Mario Raviglione, Director, Global TB Programme, WHO. TB survivor Ms Tsira Chakhaia told the assembly of her experience as a TB patient and since, as an advocate. The meeting ended with delegates committing to tackle TB and AMR in their countries.