Tuberculosis (TB)

Executive Board reviews WHO report on follow-up to the UN high-level meeting on TB

On Wednesday, 30 January, the WHO Executive Board reviewed a report of the WHO Director-General on the follow up to the UN high-level meeting on the fight to end tuberculosis (TB).

The report presented the outcomes of the UN high-level meeting, held last year on 26 September 2018, including its political declaration with bold new targets for 2022 and WHO’s actions in follow-up. Key actions include intensive support to Member States in delivering country impact, finalization of the multisectoral accountability framework, and promoting collaboration across stakeholders. WHO will support the UN Secretary-General, as requested in the declaration, to provide a global progress report to the General Assembly in 2020. These efforts are fully aligned with WHO’s new Thirteenth General Programme of Work and its “triple billion” goals.

Members of the Executive Board appreciated the leadership of WHO and the activities being undertaken to support countries in their efforts to end TB. More than 30 statements were made from Member States, regional groups and Non-State Actors.* The following are some of the points raised:

  • Support for WHO’s work in finalizing the multisectoral accountability framework, including through constructive comments on elements of the current second draft of the framework.
  • Importance of increasing funds to meet the commitments of the political declaration, the need for WHO support in resource mobilization for low-income countries and the importance of replenishment of the Global Fund.
  • The importance of progress towards universal health coverage and strengthened primary health care in the fight to end TB. WHO’s work in promoting resilient health systems and addressing the socioeconomic determinants of TB was appreciated. Issues raised during the high-level meeting on TB were noted to be highly relevant to the upcoming high-level meeting on universal health coverage. Support was expressed for the Find.Treat.All.#EndTB Joint Initiative of WHO, Stop TB Partnership and the Global Fund that aims to reach 40 million people with TB with quality care.
  • Intensified research needed towards new vaccines and expediting development of new and affordable drugs.
  • Actions taken by some Member States in follow up to the high-level meeting were highlighted, including updated national action plans, increased national budgets for TB, strengthening/establishing of national accountability mechanisms.

WHO support was requested by Member States in the adoption of revised WHO guidelines, aligning new national strategic plans for TB with global commitments, implementation of the accountability framework, and in reaching migrants and other vulnerable groups with care. WHO was also called on to do its utmost to fight drug-resistant TB in the face of the rising global threat of antimicrobial resistance.

WHO Assistant Director-General for Communicable Diseases, Dr Ren Minghui, responded to the statements on behalf of WHO. He thanked Member States for their efforts towards achieving global targets and for their continued support of WHO’s work in this direction. He announced that the 2019 WHO Global TB Report will include data on progress made towards the new commitments.

Reflecting on the session, Dr Tereza Kasaeva, Director of the WHO Global TB Programme, said “We truly appreciate the support expressed at the Executive Board for WHO’s actions towards ending TB. We stand committed to move forward with urgency, in collaboration with all partners including civil society and financing partners, to enable countries to reach the global End TB targets”.

The report will be reviewed by all Member States at the 72nd World Health Assembly in May 2019.

*Statements were made by Romania on behalf of the European Union, Burundi on behalf of the African Region, Iraq on behalf of the Eastern-Mediterranean Region, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Viet Nam, Japan, United States of America, Chile, Netherlands, Australia, Germany, Jamaica, Mexico, Israel, Fiji, Indonesia, Djibouti, China, France, Angola, Peru, Argentina, Slovakia, Canada, Dominican Republic, South Africa, Panama, India, Russian Federation, Médecins Sans Frontières and Global Health Council.