UNGA Approves Agreement With 5-Year Goal To End Tuberculosis

U.N. member nations Friday approved a “political declaration” that establishes a plan to end tuberculosis around the world in the next five years.
UNGA Approves Agreement With 5-Year Goal To End Tuberculosis (Representational Image: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
UNGA Approves Agreement With 5-Year Goal To End Tuberculosis (Representational Image: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

U.N. member nations Friday approved a “political declaration” that establishes a plan to end tuberculosis around the world in the next five years.

The plan, engineered by the World Health Organization (WHO), was approved during the U.N. General Assembly’s high-level meeting on tuberculosis in New York. It sets a goal that includes reaching 90% of the world’s population with TB prevention services, using a WHO-recommended TB rapid test for initial diagnosis, and licensing at least one new TB vaccine by 2027.

Using a WHO-recommended TB rapid test for initial diagnosis, and licensing at least one new TB vaccine by 2027 (WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Using a WHO-recommended TB rapid test for initial diagnosis, and licensing at least one new TB vaccine by 2027 (WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus – who led the meeting – says many of the targets established at the first high-level tuberculosis meeting in 2018 were not met, mainly because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He says the goal of treating 44 million people with TB fell short by about 10 million people, and the goal of reaching 30 million people with preventive treatment fell short by about half.

The target of funding providing $2 billion for research also fell short by about half between 2018 and 2020.

TB remains one of the world’s most deadly infectious diseases, the WHO chief says, killing more than a million people a year while infecting more than 10 million.

TB remains one of the world’s most deadly infectious diseases, the WHO chief says, killing more than a million people a year while infecting more than 10 million.(Representational Image: Medpix)
TB remains one of the world’s most deadly infectious diseases, the WHO chief says, killing more than a million people a year while infecting more than 10 million.(Representational Image: Medpix)

Tedros says there are also about 500,000 drug-resistant TB cases each year.

The WHO reports new cases and deaths from TB rose between 2020 and 2021 – the peak years of the pandemic – but adds that coordinated efforts since then have seen some improvement in the numbers.

As it did with COVID-19 during the pandemic, the WHO has also launched a TB vaccine accelerator program designed to speed up the development, testing and authorization of new TB vaccines.

The WHO says there is currently only one licensed TB vaccine, and while it has proved to be moderately effective in preventing severe TB in infants, it inadequately protects adolescents and adults, who account for 90% of TB transmission globally. (RN/VOA)

UNGA Approves Agreement With 5-Year Goal To End Tuberculosis (Representational Image: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
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