Union President encourages sustained efforts to rectify WHO's pathogen list TB omission

Today, 6 March, The Union's President, Dr Jeremiah Chakaya Muhwa has sent the following letter to all Union members calling for continued and united action to address the World Health Organisation's (WHO) omission of TB from it's 'priority pathogen' list:

Dear Member

This past week has seen an unexpected and unnecessary challenge emerge for the tuberculosis (TB) community. The decision by WHO to omit TB from its first-ever published list of antibiotic-resistant ‘priority-pathogens’ is an outrage with potentially far-reaching consequences and something that The Union and our partners are contesting at every level.

I’m sure many of you have already engaged with this issue, please can I encourage you to continue to give your voice to ensure that TB has the necessary status to attract the funding, support and investment it needs.

For the TB patients faced with long and arduous treatments, for the healthcare workers struggling to cope with outdated and too many times ineffective medicines, for the families of all those lost to TB we need to urge WHO to revisit this decision and revise the list to include TB with immediate effect.

The list is a catalogue of the 12 families of bacteria that WHO says "pose the greatest threat to human health—and for which new antibiotics are urgently needed." TB is the world’s most common infectious killer disease – its omission is nonsensical.

The WHO’s own figures state that in 2015, 1.8 million people died from TB, including 210,000 children. An estimated 580,000 people have drug-resistant versions of TB. Sidelining TB in this way from global antimicrobial resistant (AMR) efforts runs the risk of undermining the efforts being made to tame the threat of the disease and is counter to the global aim of accelerating progress against TB in order to reach the ‘End TB Strategy’ by 2030.

If you have not already seen our public notices on this issue, you can view The Union’s statement here, and our letter to Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General, WHO, here.

If you have social media accounts, you can support the campaign by retweeting content on this issue from the main Union Twitter @TheUnion_TBLH and sharing posts from our Facebook page.

If you are posting original content on Facebook, please tag The Union so that we can share your posts. On Twitter, please include @TheUnion_TBLH in the body of your post so we can see and retweet it.

For example:

The more noise we make, the more impact we will have. Together we can make sure that every single TB patient, and every person at risk around the world is the priority they should be.

Best regards,

Dr Jeremiah Chakaya Muhwa

President of The Union