WHO member-countries commit to end TB by 2030

New Delhi: Member-countries of the World Health Organisation (WHO) South-East Asia Region, including India, on Wednesday committed to intensifying efforts to eradicate tuberculosis by 2030.

“The member-countries unanimously agreed to actualise and intensify essential actions agreed to in the Delhi Call to Action, adopted in March last year, to accelerate efforts to end TB in the region,” a statement adopted at the two-day Delhi End TB Summit that concluded here said.

The summit sets the stage for the September 2018 United Nations high-level meeting on TB, wherein the issue will be discussed at the Heads of State level. The UN meeting is likely to endorse a set of goals to put the world on course to ending TB.

The WHO South-East Asia Region, which comprises 11 countries including North Korea and India, is host to one fourth of the global population but a disproportionate 46 per cent of the global TB burden.

“Progress against TB in this region will have a major impact on the global progress. Too much is at stake, we cannot afford to fail,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization.

As per the statement, the member-countries would collectively reach out to 2 million missing TB cases and 150,000 multidrug-resistance cases by 2020 and implement a response adequate to end TB.

On Tuesday, the Health Ministry and the WHO signed an agreement for enhanced cooperation in the health sector.

WHO’s Tedros met Union Health and Family Welfare Minister J.P. Nadda and complimented the government’s bold initiatives to expand universal health coverage through Ayushman Bharat.

An apex government body for biomedical research, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) functioning under the Health Ministry was awarded the International Kochon Prize 2017 for contribution to the National Programme in Tuberculosis research on Tuesday.

ICMR through its TB consortium has accelerated efforts for research and development of TB in the country. The TB consortium is working with public and private institutes to guide the country’s research towards development of point-of-care diagnostics, shorter treatment regimens, and effective vaccine for tuberculosis.

The Kochon Prize, endowed by the Kochon Foundation, a non-profit foundation registered in the Republic of Korea, consists of $65,000 award.

The summit, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, was attended by the Health Ministers number of countries, including Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Kazakhstan and Peru.