68th World Health Assembly Concludes in Geneva with Key Commitments by BRICS Countries on TB

28 May 2015 - The 68th World Health Assembly, which gathered Ministers of Health from around the world to make key decisions on global health matters, concluded today in Geneva. The Stop TB Partnership met with Ministers of Health to advance key TB issues, organized side events, and ensured a strong voice for the TB community during the meeting.

The Chair of the Stop TB Partnership Coordinating Board and Minister of Health for South Africa, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, represented the Partnership during the Assembly and held bi-lateral meetings to discuss TB cooperation with Dr. Li Bin, Minister for China's National Population and Family Planning Commission, and with Ministers of Health of Brazil, Russia and India, resulting in strong commitments by BRICS Ministers of Health to the proposed 90-90-90 global TB targets endorsed by BRICS countries last December at their annual Health Ministers meeting.

A key item under discussion by governments was the draft WHO Global Action Plan on Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR). Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, opened the Assembly by calling AMR "an issue of crucial importance to humankind".

The Stop TB Partnership, along with RESULTS and Global Health Advocates, highlighted the need for drug-resistant tuberculosis to be central to the AMR Global Action Plan throughout the Assembly during discussions with Ministers of Health. The final Plan recognizes that tuberculosis and other diseases "have become resistant to a wide range of antimicrobial medicines" and that some cases of TB are "resistant even to antibiotics of last resort".

Dr. Lucica Ditiu, Executive Secretary of the Stop TB Partnership, discussed the need to prioritize drug-resistant TB with Hermann Gröhe, Minister of Health for Germany, which has made AMR a key priority during their current Chairmanship of G7.

A statement calling for drug-resistant TB to be central in the AMR Global Action Plan and included in the Communique of the G7 Summit was delivered jointly by the Global Health Council and Global Health Advocates France, which can be viewed here.

The BRICS Ministers of Health also met during the Assembly and issued a communique which "affirmed their support for the development of a cooperation plan for tuberculosis and welcomed the discussions to develop the operational framework of the aforementioned plan in 2015 as discussed and agreed at the 4th meeting of Ministers of Health of the BRICS in Brazil."

The Stop TB Partnership also collaborated with Eli Lilly to organize a side-event focusing on driving health outcomes through evidence based partnerships which focused on opportunities for collaboration through NCDs and TB programs.