In New York today, world leaders are meeting at the United Nations General Assembly for the first-ever high-level meeting on tuberculosis (TB). The theme of the meeting is “United to end tuberculosis: an urgent global response to a global epidemic”.

This meeting aims to accelerate efforts in ending TB and reach all affected people with prevention and care.  The high-level meeting should result in a political declaration on TB endorsed by Heads of State that will strengthen action and investments on preventing and treating TB.  It has the potential to save millions of lives each year.

Shiva Shresthra writes:

The release of the WHO Global TB report 2018 ahead of the UN High-Level Meeting on 26 September is a time to let our country’s leaders know that another year has passed without any concrete progress in desired goal to reach the end TB  by 2035.

This means TB remains the world’s top infectious killer for the fourth year in a row. TB continues to kill more people than HIV/AIDS and Malaria combined. In 2017 , 1.6 million people died due to TB,  and another 10 million people got ill,  yet only 6.4 million of those were reported. This means 3.6 million TB cases are missing from the system.

In other words, one in three people with TB is either undiagnosed or unreported and that means they’re not being treated.

Adding to our concern over the status quo, the Global TB Report reveals that in 1 year, the number of people with MDR-TB who are currently on treatment has increased by only 9,425 (from 129,689 to 139,114) whereas 558,000 people developed MDR-TB in 2017.

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