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First Ever Global Ministerial Conference Pledges To End TB By 2030

This week, Ministers of Health from all over the world are meeting for the first ever WHO global ministerial conference on ending TB in Moscow.

First Ever Global Ministerial Conference Pledges To End TB By 2030

TB affects all and is everybody's business

Moscow: The spotlight is intensifying on tuberculosis. An ancient disease, it has recently dislodged HIV/Aids as the world's top infectious killer.

This week, Ministers of Health from all over the world are meeting for the first ever WHO global ministerial conference on ending TB in Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the opening of the conference, calling for coordinated and consistent action on TB by countries.

TB affects all and is everybody's business - a fact underscored by the huge turnout of health ministers from over 74 countries and representatives from other sectors at the two day conference ending on Friday.


Dr Mario Raviglione, Director, WHO Global TB programme, said, "This is a historical event in the world of TB and in the fight against TB. For the first time ever, we have a ministerial event which engages all the countries of the world in the fight against the disease which is the number one killer amongst all infectious disease. I think it is absolutely crucial that a country like Russia takes leadership. They still have a problem themselves with multi drug resistant tuberculosis. They are showing to the world that it can come down in incidence and in mortality from tuberculosis by doing proper things. It is a model that is very good for all of us to disseminate."

India will also play an important role in the fight against TB.

India has the highest burden of both TB and MDR TB and the second highest of HIV associated TB.

While the world has committed to end TB by 2030, India has set itself an ambitious target by declaring it will end TB by 2025.

Health minister JP Nadda shared India's new national strategic plan for TB elimination. The plan is set to allocate over 12000 crore rupees over the next 3 years for greater private sector engagement, nutritional support and investments in TB research and development.

"We are trying to see that every micro-planning is implemented at the grassroot level. And we have taken two campaigns in 250 districts - approximately 30 million people have been screened. And 15,000 active TB patients have come," he said.

However, a petition signed by 30,000 people from 120 countries presented to WHO and the ministers of Health say the rate of progress needs to be stepped up in all TB affected countries including India.

Sharonann Lynch of the Medicines Sans Frontiers said, "The best way to measure real commitment in terms of words about ending TB is truly in terms of what you are going to do in the next 30 days and will you implement the best testing treatment and prevention recommendations by world TB day 2018."

A ministerial declaration, at the end of the conference, contains commitments by countries to accelerate action to end TB by 2030.

The Moscow conference is a preparation for the big one next year. The first ever UN general Assembly high level meeting on TB will take place in New York, which will elevate efforts to end TB to the level of heads of state.



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