The following statement was issued to coincide with World Tuberculosis Day 2019:
“It is entirely unacceptable that every year 1.6 million people die from a disease that we have been able to treat since the 1940s. In developed nations, tuberculosis has nearly been eradicated, but in low- and middle-income countries, TB remains the leading infectious killer. On this World TB Day, we stand with the World Health Organization, other global partners and the millions of families who have lost loved ones in declaring this year’s theme: ‘It’s time.’
We have had the blueprint to eliminate TB for decades. But a lack of political will and financial investment has kept proven methods of prevention, detection, and treatment from being fully implemented in the developing world. The result is 10 million new cases of TB each year. This must end now.
Last September heads of state from all over the world came together for the United Nations’ first-ever High-Level Meeting on TB. During that gathering, world leaders made strong commitments to accelerate the response to TB. We welcome these commitments, but we must now see the results.
The people suffering from TB demand action from us. Future generations will judge us for our inaction, for allowing millions of people year after year to die from a curable disease. Leaders need to close the funding gaps that impede progress on TB, and they need to fully support and scale up access to prevention and treatment. We unite under the WHO’s banner to ‘Find. Treat. All,’ to turn hope into reality, and to #EndTB. It’s time.”
Tuberculosis is the world’s leading infectious killer, despite the fact that it is preventable and curable. A lengthy treatment regimen is also contributing to the rise of drug-resistant strains. Despite the progress made in global TB control, multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) has emerged as a major public health concern.