Heads of State will gather in New York on 26 September this year at the United Nations General Assembly first-ever high-level meeting on tuberculosis (TB) to accelerate efforts in ending TB and reach all affected people with prevention and care. The theme of the meeting is “United to end tuberculosis: an urgent global response to a global epidemic”.
The high-level meeting on TB is a tremendous and unprecedented step forward by governments and all partners engaged in the fight against TB. It follows on from a very successful Ministerial Conference on Ending TB in Moscow on 16-17 November, 2017 which resulted in high-level commitments from Ministers and other leaders from 120 countries to accelerate progress to end TB.
The high-level meeting should result in an ambitious Political Declaration on TB endorsed by Heads of State that will strengthen action and investments for the end TB response, saving millions of lives.
TB carries a grave global toll having been one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide in 2016, causing 1.8 million deaths, including 0.5 million among people with HIV. In 2016, there were an estimated 10.4 million new TB cases worldwide. The public health crisis of multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) continues. Although 53 million lives have been saved through global efforts since 2000, actions and investments fall far short of those needed to end the TB epidemic. Countries need to move much faster to prevent, detect, and treat TB if they are to meet the global targets. This requires multisectoral action across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Seventeen SDGs were adopted by the UN Member States in September 2015. Ending the TB epidemic is a target under SDG3 – “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”.