TB takes centre stage at the UN Hearing on AMR; New WHO report recognises TB as a top threat to human health

NEWS ALERT23 May 2024 | Geneva, Switzerland

Drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) is one of the leading reasons for death due to Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). For years, Stop TB Partnership has been advocating to prioritize TB within the AMR and the recent updates to World Health Organization (WHO) Bacterial Priority Pathogens List (BPPL), with Mycobacterium tuberculosis placed in the critical category, have further strengthed the case.

Last week in New York, “Yes! We Can End TB” voices once again echoed in the Trusteeship Council Chamber at the United Nations Headquarters as the Stop TB Partnership-led delegation of TB survivors, researchers, communities and civil society representatives attended the Multi-stakeholder Hearing in preparation of the United Nations High-level Meeting (HLM) on Antimicrobial Resistance which will be held on 26 September, 2024.

After the success of the UN-HLM on TB in September 2023, the delegation, again this year, attended the meeting to push for the inclusion of tuberculosis (TB) in the upcoming AMR Political Declaration, building on already made commitments during the UNHLM on TB in 2023.

TB was the most highlighted issue during the meeting, including nine TB-focused interventions. Seven of them were made by Stop TB board members and civil society partners as the discussions progressed. Additionally, the panelists from the Global Fund and Global Antibiotic Research & Development Partnership also highlighted the links between TB and AMR.

All interventions during the Hearing were made with the aim of TB being included and prioritized as the member states begin negotiations on the AMR Political Declaration. The speakers were loud and clear in urging the member states to include strong TB language in the Zero Draft of the AMR Political Declaration.

You can watch the full recording of the Multistakeholder Hearing on AMR including the interventions here: Opening RemarksPart 1Part 2

In addition, The Alliance of Countries on the Fight Against Tuberculosis issued a joint statement on behalf of its 23 members. Nigeria, also the co-chair for the Alliance, delivered the statement. 

“TB accounts for more deaths than other infections. The TB community learned the devasting effects of antimicrobial resistance the hard way. Despite all efforts, in 2022, 160,000 lives were lost to drug-resistant TB, which is almost 1/8th of all TB deaths. TB has consistently been underfunded. Here in my hands are the key asks for the UN High-Level Meeting on AMR which I would like to hand over to Barbados and Malta as the co-facilitator of the HLM on AMR. If you wonder what the global TB community hopes to see, this is the answer,” said Mr. Austin Obiefune, Vice-Chair of the Stop TB Partnership Board.

“We need political commitment for financing, diagnosis and treatment, community rights and gender, research and development, and accountability. Our progress on TB is impressive, but not sufficient. That is why it is so important that every one of us in this room to agree that we cannot let TB or any other superbug win. We need to ensure that the Political Declaration sets the bar high and that we are ready to go far and beyond to achieve the targets agreed in the declaration,” he added.

H.E. Mr. Dennis Francis, UN President of the General Assembly (PGA), in the opening remarks, reminded every one that a strong political will and leadership at the highest levels are indispensable in addressing the multidimensional challenges posed by AMR.

Ahead of the meeting, the Stop TB Partnership launched the Key Asks from TB community for the UN High-Level Meeting (HLM) on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). The Key Asks have been developed through an inclusive process by gathering inputs from a range of partners including civil society, affected communities and survivors, researchers, the private sector, and academia.

On the sidelines of the Multistakeholder Hearing, the Stop TB delegation also met key officials from  21 UN Permanent Missions (Angola, Australia, Azerbaijan, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Eswatini, France, Indonesia, Mexico, Mongolia, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Uganda, Ukraine) in New York and shared the Key Asks from the TB Community. The Permanent Missions reiterated their commitment to support the TB community and also push for the inclusion of strong TB language and other recommendations from the community.



On 22nd May, UN Member States released the zero draft of the UN Political Declaration on AMR, which is available here. The P35 of the zero draft which specifically focuses on TB reads as below:

"P35:  Acknowledge that drug-resistant tuberculosis is a key component of the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance, and express grave concern that the scope and scale of multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis illness and mortality place an additional burden on health and community systems, especially in low- and middle-income countries, (Source: based on A/RES/78/5, p25)"

In follow up to the Multistakeholder Hearing on AMR and the release of the zero draft, Stop TB and our partners will continue to advocate for strengthened commitments and references to TB, supporting the AMR agenda and efforts in line with our Key TB Asks for AMR over the coming months. Member states aim to close the negotiations on the Political Declaration by 2nd August, 2024.

We’re calling on partners to share the Key Asks with their political leaders and to advocate for an ambitious Political Declaration on AMR that includes quantitative and measurable time-bound targets, linked to the already agreed language of the UNHLM 2023 Political declaration, and to continue advocacy at regional and country level to ensure TB is a priority in AMR discussions, National Plans, and AMR funding.

Also last week, Lucica Ditiu, the Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership participated as a panelist in the event "The World Together Solving the Antibiotic Emergency”, organized by The Royal Society and the UK Government and used this opportunity to highlight the links and the gains that can be made towards ending TB and also solving the AMR emergency by addressing these challenges together.

On the sidelines of the World Health Assembly which will be held in Geneva from 27 May through 1 June 2024, the Stop TB Partnership is organizing three side events, out of which one, in partnership with GARDP, is focused specifically on drug-resistant TB and AMR. Find full list of events here.