March 19, 2018

Tipping point for control of TB

A senior WHO official in Southeast Asia has good news to share about a recent push to end tuberculosis (TB) as a public health threat. Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, the Regional Director of WHO Southeast Asia, says the drive to end TB has reached a tipping point.

In TB-affected countries, including those of the Southeast Asian region, domestic funding for TB programs has increased dramatically. In some countries – such as India – it has trebled. That political will was reinforced this week, when, at a TB summit in New Delhi, India, ministers of health and representatives of the WHO Southeast Asia Region – the world’s most TB-affected region – developed and adopted a Statement of Action – a manifesto that will intensify momentum to end TB’s unconscionable burden, both in the region and across the world.

Also, to date, global support for national and regional initiatives has been strong. Last year’s Ministerial Conference on TB in Moscow is a good example. There, ministers of health from across the world expressed their desire to get things done – to make TB a vestige of history, exactly as it is in much of the developed world, with donors pledging to provide the resources needed to chart bold progress.

Critical to present momentum is WHO’s recently elected leader, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He has made it his personal mission to combat, with renewed vigor, the heartbreaking afflictions that destroy the lives of millions of people across the world, with a special focus on harnessing the full power of health coverage for all. Importantly, those afflictions include TB.

Dr. Singh says the momentum must be maintained to bring real change to the lives of millions of people and, in the process, create a healthier, more prosperous, and secure world.

"The drive to end TB has reached a tipping point. Now is the time to accelerate it".

The full artivle can be found in The Diplomat.