- TB was responsible for 1.7 million deaths in 2016, despite most cases being curable. Over 10 million people contract TB every year. WHO South-East Asia Region, which hosts about one-fourth of the global population, shares a disproportionate 46% global TB disease burden.
- The WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, the Stop TB Partnership’s Executive Director, Dr Lucica Ditiu and Global Fund’s Executive Director, Mr Peter Sands, would be among the prominent health leaders at the meeting.
- The health ministers of a number of countries including Indonesia, Bangladesh, South Africa, Nigeria, Mozambique,Zimbabwe, Kazakhstan, Peru and Brazil are also expected to participate.
The Delhi End TB Summit builds on the Delhi Call to Action adopted by Member countries of WHO South-East Asia Region in March 2017, and the WHO Global Ministerial Conference “Ending TB in the Sustainable Development Era: A Multisectoral Response,” held in Moscow in November last year. The summit next week will set the stage for the September 2018 United Nations High-Level Meeting on TB. For the first time TB will be discussed in the UN General Assembly at the Heads of State level. The UN high-level meeting is expected to endorse an ambitious set of goals to put the world on course to ending TB. Till date, there have only been five UN high-level meeting devoted to health issues.
As part of next week’s summit, health ministers and programme heads from WHO South-East Asia Region will review accelerated efforts being made by countries since the adoption of Delhi Call to Action. The Regional Director, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, had announced ending TB as a flagship programme in the Region, at the Delhi Call to Action. On March 14-15, the Stop TB Partnership will hold its board meeting, which is being hosted in India after 14 years, demonstrating the country’s resolve to fast-track efforts to end the killer disease.