Stop TB Partnership urges bolder action on TB at "Every Woman, Every Child" event

20 September 2011 - New York - The Stop TB Partnership called for increased attention on tuberculosis (TB) and a bold collective effort to save one million people living with HIV from dying of TB at a high level event on maternal and child health.

Under the leadership of United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) Ban Ki-moon, the Every Woman, Every Child event was convened by Ray Chambers, the UNSG's Special Envoy for Malaria and Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Advocate, Joy Pumaphi, Executive Director of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance and Dr. Margaret Chan, the Director General of the World Health Organization.

The event highlighted the need for further action on the MDGs, with a particular focus on maternal and child health. In the session on TB, Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Secretary of the Stop TB Partnership called for greater attention on TB.

"Tuberculosis is somehow forgotten, but incredible in its global spread," said Dr Ditiu. "Speaking in terms of MDG 4 and 5, if we do not act against it now, more than three million women and one million children will die, and millions more children will be left orphaned."

Dr Ditiu also announced the Partnership's recently published objective of saving one million people living with HIV from dying of TB by 2015 [PDF]. "I commit the Stop TB Partnership, working with key partners like UNAIDS, WHO, the Global Fund and UNITAID to develop country tailored action plans to save these people and drive deaths from TB down towards zero," she said.

Dr Ditiu was joined for the TB session by Philippe Douste-Blazy, Chair of the UNITAID Board, MDG Advocate and the UNSG's Special Adviser on Innovative Financing. Douste-Blazy noted that in the current economic environment, new innovative finance approaches to fight TB are essential, as are new drugs, new pediatric formulations, and new tools. He committed UNITAID to ensuring that appropriate TB tests and medicines are available to save one million lives.

Two members from the Stop TB Coordinating Board were also able to join the event. These included Nils Billo the Executive Director International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease and Krista Thompson, Vice President, Global Health from Becton, Dickinson and Company who is vice-chair of the Private Sector Constituency.

The event was organized with tables grouped around the different MDG goals. Malaria and TB were represented at one table by President Kikwete of Tanzania, UNITAID's Douste-Blazy, Julio Frenk, the Dean of the Harvard School of public health, Dr. Awa Coll-seck, the Executive Director of Roll Back Malaria and Dr. Ditiu.

A host of high profile speakers joined the event, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Queen Rania of Jordan, model Christy Turlington and actress Jennifer Connoley. The last speaker was rapper 50 Cent, who was introduced by Deepak Chopra. 50 Cent spoke of his history growing up in Queens, New York, and committed to providing 10 million meals to children in Africa. The evening ended in a concert by Senegalese singer Youssou Ndour.