New York — The Global Fund is joining leaders who converge in New York today to commit to speeding up global collaboration in the fight against TB, a preventable disease that killed 1.6 million people in 2017.
Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, is addressing the first-ever UN High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis. Leaders are expected to sign a Declaration that will commit them to bigger efforts and investments needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal target of ending the TB epidemic by 2030. The World Health Organization has called the meeting an "unprecedented step forward" by governments and partners in the fight against TB.
"The time has come for the world to reject the notion that a disease that is preventable and curable can continue to kill so many," said Sands. "I call upon every country to muster the political will and invest the resources needed to meet the targets in the Declaration. We will need more international funding, but we will also need greater domestic resources."
Since 2002, the Global Fund has invested more than US$6.2 billion in the fight against TB and now represents about 65 percent of the international response to TB. But to meet the targets in the Declaration, the world will need to invest more in programs that are working, and find new and better drugs and tools to fight TB.
Today's meeting is expected to commit to closing the funding gap for the treatment and research of TB, estimated at $3.5 billion this year - an amount that may double by 2022. To reach millions of people who miss treatment every year, the leaders will also commit to finding and treating 40 million people with tuberculosis between 2018 to 2022.
"We need a step change in our approach to fighting TB," said Sands. "The Declaration is the result of a generation of activists who are standing up to fight TB, global leaders committing funding and political will, and a new energy amongst the private sector and researchers to find innovative new solutions to end TB. We have a moral imperative to hold them accountable for making this happen, tracking progress against targets across every country."
The leaders will commit to developing community-based health services to address human rights-related barriers to health and other challenges that block people from accessing the prevention, care and treatment they need to beat TB.
"Most of those that are 'missed' are the ones that are most vulnerable," said Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership, who was a driving force in the TB community to make today's meeting a reality. "To succeed, TB services must be based on dialogue with people with TB. We have to look at the person living with TB as a full person, as a peer - with needs, with a family."