27 September 2018

Sharonann Lynch, HIV & TB advisor for Doctors Without Borders(MSF) Access Campaign, made the following statement today following the first-ever United Nations High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis (TB):

“The good news is this historic meeting happened at a time when the world is equipped with new, more effective medicines and diagnostics to fight TB and has a real shot at radically improving treatment and the lives of people affected by this global health emergency–a disease that killed 1.6 million people in 2017 alone.

MSF, Doctors Without Borders, TB
Kyaw Thu, 26, from Myammar. Kyaw is on TB treatment, his treatment will take him two years to finish (12,000 pills and 168 painful infections). Photo: Alessandro Penso/MAPS

“The bad news is that global leaders failed, once again, to make people with tuberculosis (TB) a priority, further stalling progress in this fight. Out of the 193 UN member states, fewer than 30 leaders chose to attend the meeting yesterday. Leaders missing from this critical meeting include many from high-burden TB countries and donors that have been promising to help fund the fight to ‘end TB.’ Shame on the more than 160 leaders who were absent.

“But just because the cameras are off and leaders have stepped off the world stage doesn’t mean they can return to business as usual. They have to take advantage of this momentum and truly commit to significantly increasing investments and mobilizing the research community to develop new medical tools to more effectively tackle the world’s deadliest infectious disease—for the ten million people who develop TB each year still desperately waiting for a fast, safe, and simple cure.”

Read more: 

MSF response to release of WHO’s Global Tuberculosis Report 2018

South Africa calls on SA Government to continue providing global leadership on TB issues