Governments Pledge US$15 Billion a Year for TB by 2022
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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World leaders agreed to mobilize US$13 billion a year to finance tuberculosis prevention and treatment by 2022, and promised another US$2 billion a year for TB research, at the High-Level Meeting on TB in New York.

Speakers drew attention to the problem of drug-resistant TB, and called for improving access to health services and medicines.

SDG target 3.3 commits to ending epidemics of communicable diseases, including TB, by 2030.

26 September 2018: World leaders agreed to mobilize US$13 billion per year to finance tuberculosis (TB) prevention and treatment by 2022, and promised another US$2 billion per year for TB research, at the UN High-Level Meeting on TB. Speakers at the one-day meeting, convened by the UN General Assembly (UNGA), drew attention to the problem of drug-resistant TB, and called for improving access to health services and medicines.

SDG target 3.3 commits to ending epidemics of communicable diseases, including TB, by 2030. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that TB is the world’s deadliest infectious disease, accounting for a death toll of 1.6 million people in 2017, and ten million new infections. SDG indicator 3.3.2 for monitoring progress toward this target is: the incidence of TB among every 1,000 people.

Immediate investment for action on TB could be a clear win for the 2030 Agenda.

The high-level meeting convened on 26 September 2018, in New York, US, on the sidelines of the 73rd UNGA general debate. UNGA President Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garcés opened the meeting with an estimate that TB could cost the global economy more than US$1 trillion by 2030. She stressed that, by investing immediately, the international community can save lives, reduce suffering, and eliminate economic losses, highlighting that such action on TB could be “a clear win” for the 2030 Agenda.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed addressed the meeting on behalf of UN Secretary-General António Guterres. She noted that TB is fueled by poverty, inequality, urbanization, migration and conflict, and said two-thirds of all new TB cases occur in just eight countries. She drew attention to the need for scientific progress to overcome drug-resistant cases of TB and counter the threat of anti-microbial resistance (AMR). She emphasized that addressing TB provides an opportunity to strengthen health systems in all aspects, including expanding access to medicines and working towards universal health coverage (UHC).

The political declaration adopted at the High-level Meeting lays out a roadmap to accelerating action on the WHO’s ‘End TB’ Strategy and the Moscow Declaration to End TB. The declaration titled, ‘United to End Tuberculosis: An Urgent Global Response to a Global Epidemic,’ sets a goal of treating 40 million affected people and giving preventive treatment to another 30 million.

The High-Level Meeting on TB was the first of its kind to take place at the UNGA. In preparation for the meeting, the president of the 72nd UNGA convened an interactive civil society hearing on 4 June, following up on UNGA resolution 72/268. WHO and the Stop TB Partnership supported the hearing, which drew around 250 participants from civil society, parliaments, NGOs, academia, medical associations and the private sector, people affected by TB and the wider community. The hearing highlighted the situation of under-served communities such as migrants and the urban poor, and the need to protect health workers and ensure workplace infection control. Participants called for affordable medicines and fair pricing.

Consultations on the political declaration were facilitated by the delegations of Antigua & Barbuda and Japan in the lead-up to the meeting. Agreement was announced on 14 September.

In 2017, WHO organized the First Global Ministerial Conference on Ending TB in the Sustainable Development Era in Moscow, Russia, which resulted in the Moscow Declaration to End TB. By the declaration, governments agreed to a range of commitments in four main areas: advancing the world’s response to TB in the context of the SDGs; ensuring sufficient and sustainable financing; pursuing science, research and innovation; and developing a multi-sectoral accountability framework. [WHO press release] [UN press release]


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