Statement delivered at the 71st World Health Assembly on the preparation for the United Nations General Assembly High-Level meeting on Tuberculosis

At a Member States discussion at today’s World Health Assembly on the up-coming United Nations High-Level Meeting (UN HLM) on Tuberculosis (TB), The Union delivered the following intervention:

The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung disease (The Union) is a global scientific organisation with the mission to advance solutions to the most pressing public health challenges affecting people living in poverty, including TB.

TB is the world’s number-one infectious-disease killer. An estimated 1.7 million people died from TB in 2016. A million children develop TB annually, 90 percent of whom go untreated. Drug-resistant TB is a crisis, with 600,000 new cases with resistance to the most effective first-line drug. The rate of incidence decline is far below what is needed to achieve the WHO End TB Strategy.

The UN HLM on ending TB in 2018 is the first UN HLM on TB and an opportunity to galvanise political action to end TB. The Union thanks the Secretariat working with the UN General Assembly on the successful submission of the modalities document. 

The Union urges member states to ensure the highest level of political participation at the HLM and calls on member states to approve a declaration that includes the following commitments:

  • Reach all people by closing the gaps on diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, including treating a cumulative 40 million people by 2022—including 3.5 million children and 1.5 million people with drug-resistant TB;
  • Transform the TB response to be equitable, rights-based, and people-centred.
  • Accelerate development of essential new drugs, diagnostics and vaccines to end TB.
  • Invest the funds to end TB; and commit to decisive and accountable global leadership, including regular UN reporting and review.
  • The unique needs of infants, children and adolescents need to be given prominence in the HLM programme, political declaration and accountability framework.