UN Special Envoy reports back on his commitment with the Clinton Global Initiative

23 September 2009 - New York, New York -- "We have seen major strides this year," said Dr Jorge Sampaio, the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Stop TB as he spoke to assembled participants in the Clinton Global Initiative during his update on the TB/HIV Commitment today.

One year ago Dr Sampaio formally endorsed a commitment with the Clinton Global Initiative to increase engagement of global leaders in supporting coordination of tuberculosis and HIV services and ensure that their Ministries of Health implement nationwide programmatic scale up and capacity building for these combined services.

"One of my first steps was a request to the WHO Regional Director for Africa for the 59th Regional Committee to include a special ministerial discussion on tuberculosis, including integrated approaches to tuberculosis and HIV," he said.

In August, Dr Sampaio addressed Ministers of Health from 46 African countries at the Regional Committee meeting in Kigali, Rwanda. In his speech he put to them four specific "asks", urging them to acknowledge HIV/TB as a critical issue and address it systematically in their countries.

Dr Sampaio pointed to several other important advances over the past year: the adoption of TB/HIV response as one of the nine priorities of the new UNAIDS administration; intensified support from WHO; a call from the Board of the Global Fund that all projects proposed for HIV must address tuberculosis and vice versa; preparation by the World Bank of a project with African countries hard-hit by HIV that aim to improve their integrated public health laboratory networks; support from the Gates Foundation for joint tuberculosis and HIV advocacy and further field research through the Consortium to Respond Effectively to the AIDS/TB Epidemic (CREATE); and scaling up of civil society action for integrated service delivery.

The Clinton Foundation has made new efforts with industry to support access to rifabutin, which is needed in TB treatment among HIV-infected individuals. Other strides include major support for tuberculosis and HIV interventions from PEPFAR and US Congressional reauthorization of PEPFAR, including a recommended $US 4 billion for tuberculosis control over 5 years; the opening of NIH-supported HIV clinical trial sites for tuberculosis research; and announcement of the Obama Administration's Global Health Initiative, which includes HIV and tuberculosis efforts.

Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Policy, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Senior Advisor for Science, Technology and Innovation, National Economic Council, facilitated the session.