HomeWashington Letter2018 ▶ United Nations Holds First High Level Meeting on TB
United Nations Holds First High Level Meeting on TB

On Sept. 26, world leaders gathered at the United Nations for the first ever high-level meeting on tuberculosis. ATS was represented at the historic UN meeting by James Beck, MD, president-elect, Karen Collishaw, executive director, and staff from the ATS Washington, DC office. Member states signed a political declaration that includes commitments to:

  • reach 40 million people with TB treatment by 2022;
  • double funding on prevention and treatment;
  • refocus the response on the needs of people directly affected by TB; and
  • increase investment into urgently needed research and development of new TB diagnostic, treatment and prevention tools.

At the meeting, national leaders, including the Presidents of South Africa and Nigeria, and Nigeria’s First Lady, made strong statements urging the world to take urgent action to halt the TB pandemic. In the second of two stakeholder panels, Global TB Parliamentary Caucus co-chair and member of the United Kingdom Parliament, Nick Herbert, gave rousing remarks about the need for countries to follow through on the commitments made in the political declaration. He said, “We should not have to be here. Today’s meeting should mark a turning point for TB. But will the promises be translated into action?” He continued, “Let us decide, really decide, to end TB.”  

The U.S. delegation, led by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar,  announced two important new initiatives to expand its efforts against TB at the UN TB meeting. The first, announced by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) Director Anthony Fauci, MD, was the release of the institute’s new Strategic Plan for Tuberculosis Research. The NIAID strategic plan aims to:

  • improve fundamental knowledge of TB
  • advance research to improve diagnosis of TB
  • accelerate research to improve TB prevention
  • support research to advance and shorten treatment of TB
  • develop tools and resources to advance TB research.

The second U.S. TB initiative, announced by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green, is the agency’s new “Global Accelerator to End Tuberculosis.” It will focus on supporting local in-country organizations through development and implementation of a performance-based metrics system to maximize all funding resources and a public-private partnership with India called the USAID-India TB Alliance. The initiative includes a new $35 million award to the University of North Carolina which will support the development and implementation of the metrics system. The USAID-India partnership will rely on the agencies’ procurement of an additional $30 million appropriation from Congress.

Last Reviewed: September 28, 2018