Union Intervention at the 72nd World Health Assembly on antimicrobial resistance

At the 72nd World Health Assembly, The Union calls on Member States to ensure the strategic involvement of tuberculosis (TB) as part of the response to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) - stressing that AMR action plans should include robust support for addressing drug-resistant TB (DR-TB).

The Union formally read the following intervention to the World Health Assembly.

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

"The Union and its members are battling daily with the challenge of preventing, diagnosing and treating DR- TB. For many countries where Union members and beneficiaries are based, DR-TB is the resistant infection for which they are at highest risk. Current vaccines, diagnostics and treatments are grossly inadequate. New data reveals deaths attributed to DR-TB in one year will cost the global economy at least US$17.8 billion in future GDP (PPP) loss.  

"The response to antimicrobial resistance therefore must include a strong response to TB. The Union welcomes the clear inclusion of TB in the planned update on the WHO priority pathogens to support the much-needed investment in research and development to discover antibacterial agents for drug-resistant TB. The Union hopes that the WHO will highlight the recent positive developments in TB vaccine development and need for investment when providing prioritisation and guidance to those funding vaccine research and development.

"For high burden TB countries, particularly those in the WHO top 30 high burden countries for MDR-TB, AMR action plans should include robust support for addressing DR-TB, including support for R&D and for providing universal access to diagnosis, treatment and holistic care that includes psychosocial support for patients and families affected by DR-TB. It is important that both the national strategic plans for AMR and TB are fully financed and do not detract or compete with each other.”