26 September 2018 ¦New York - World Leaders endorsed on Wednesday the UN Political Declaration on TB with the most ambitious TB commitments made to date, agreeing to diagnose and successfully treat 40 million people with TB by end of 2022 and to provide 30 million people with preventive treatment by 2022 to protect them from developing TB.
"You must act now. Your declaration will make a difference only if it is backed by actions. For those that need care, scientific progress must reach all those who need it quickly", said Nandita Venkatesan, a business journalist and TB survivor from India, who spoke at the opening session on behalf of people affected by TB. Ms Venkatesan, who lost her hearing during her treatment, received a two-minute ovation for her powerful remarks.
Member states also agreed to nearly double global levels of TB funding to reach the target of USD13 billion per year by 2022 and to reach $2 billion in R&D funding. The Political Declaration was met with strong acclaim from the TB community, and included the majority of the key asks and targets launched by the Stop TB Partnership and key TB stakeholders and communities back in April.
>However, this optimism was tempered by the lack of agreement on a strong, robust, and independent system of accountability in the Political Declaration to ensure regular and timely follow up to the Declaration.
"Today is a historic day in our battle with an ancient disease... TB knows no borders. Everyone is at risk, but it thrives where there is poverty, malnutrition or conflict. There has never been a better opportunity to make TB history," said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) at the start of the historic UN High-Level Meeting (HLM) on TB.
Over 15 Heads of State addressed the opening plenary session, with nearly 80 Ministers of Health and Ministers of Foreign Affairs addressing the plenary.
Mr. Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, told the High-Level Meeting: "Three years ago when all UN member states adopted the SDGs, they pledged to end TB worldwide in 15 years. As 2030 approaches, progress is trending short of that goal. A higher degree of political leadership and more concrete actions are required if we hope to accelerate progress".