UN high-level meeting must set new trajectory for world’s biggest infectious killer, matching bold targets with action, resources and accountability
September 26, 2018, New York, NY — World leaders gathered today at the United Nations for the first ever high-level meeting on tuberculosis.
A final political declaration signed today includes a pledge to reach 40 million people with treatment by 2022; double investment in prevention and treatment; refocus the response on the needs of people directly affected by TB; and increase investment in critically needed research and development.
National leaders, including the Presidents of South Africa and Nigeria, made announcements of their own, and the United States announced the “Global Accelerator to End Tuberculosis,” which will focus on supporting locally-generated solutions to help countries reach the 40 million goal.
See below for a statement from Joanne Carter, Executive Director of RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund:
“For far too long, TB has been cast to the bottom of the list of political priorities. That’s why, despite being preventable, treatable, and nearly always curable, it has climbed to the top of the list of infectious killers.
Today, at the first ever UN high-level meeting on TB, world leaders pledged to achieve bold goals on treatment, prevention, financing, and research that could reverse that trend. The meeting alone guarantees nothing, but we know what’s possible when the world unites behind shared goals – and backs them up with the resources and policies to make it a reality.
Among our greatest failures on TB is the failure to actually reach people who are sick. Every year health systems leave behind 3.6 million of the estimated ten million people with TB. And we know that who is left behind in the TB response is not random: whether isolated by geography, poverty, or social stigma, it is the most vulnerable groups who are most likely to miss out.
World leaders today pledged to change that, and to reach 40 million people with TB testing and treatment by the end of 2022. They also committed to provide TB prevention to 30 million of the people most at risk.
The United States unveiled an important new initiative to better support countries to reach everyone. The Global Accelerator to End TB announced by USAID Administrator Mark Green is a powerful step forward, refocusing on solutions generated locally, making sure that investments rely on the best evidence, track impact, and prioritize those who have been left behind. Supporting national governments and local partners to reach everyone – and providing the resources to make it possible – is essential to delivering on the promise of today’s meeting.
For its part, Congress must continue to build on the recent bipartisan momentum on tuberculosis. That means increasing funding to match the scale of ambition shown today. Making today’s political declaration a reality will require new resources for research and development, for USAID, and for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.
Also critical to future success will be a transparent, independent accountability structure that can track and support country progress in real time – and hold leaders to account.
While it was national and global leaders on stage today, we only got here because of the dedicated work of millions of health workers, community leaders, grassroots advocates, and survivors of TB who have fought this disease for decades. Together we will hold our leaders accountable and make sure they stick to their promises.
Today’s political declaration and all the announcements made have the potential to change the trajectory of the disease. But the most important measure of success isn’t what’s on a piece of paper: it’s what happens starting tomorrow in terms of action, increased resources, better policy, sustained political attention, and accountability.”
About RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund:
RESULTS supports a movement of passionate, committed everyday people using their voices to influence political decisions that will bring an end to poverty. Volunteers and staff multiply their impact through the enormous power of advocacy.
Our movement of volunteers is backed by a staff of researchers, policy analysts, and legislative and media experts. Our shared goal is the end of poverty. We have affiliates and partners across five continents, and a network of volunteers in all 50 states and worldwide. We’re a non-partisan advocacy group comprised of RESULTS Educational Fund, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, and RESULTS, a nonprofit 501(c)4 grassroots lobbying organization.