Sharonann Lynch, HIV & TB advisor for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières’ (MSF) Access Campaign, made the following statement today following the first-ever United Nations High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis (TB):
“The good news is this historic meeting happened at a time when the world is equipped with new, more effective medicines and diagnostics to fight TB and has a real shot at radically improving treatment and the lives of people affected by this global health emergency–a disease that killed 1.6 million people in 2017 alone.
“The bad news is that global leaders failed, once again, to make people with TB a priority, further stalling progress in this fight. Out of the 193 UN member states, fewer than 30 leaders chose to attend the meeting today. Leaders missing from this critical meeting include many from high-burden TB countries and donors that have been promising to help fund the fight to ‘end TB.’ Shame on the more than 160 leaders who were absent today.
“But just because the cameras are off and leaders have stepped off the world stage doesn’t mean they can return to business as usual. They have to take advantage of this momentum and truly commit to significantly increasing investments and mobilizing the research community to develop new medical tools to more effectively tackle the world’s deadliest infectious disease — for the ten million people who develop TB each year still desperately waiting for a fast, safe, and simple cure.”