WHO TB Report Sets Stage for Historic U.N.TB Meeting

September 19, 2018

The American Thoracic Society (ATS) joins the World Health Organization in calling for robust global political commitments, including funding, to halt the TB pandemic, following the release of the WHO Global Tuberculosis Report 2018 today. This important report describes in detail the global morbidity and mortality burden of TB and provides critical context for the first-ever United Nations High Level Meeting on Tuberculosis on Sept 26, 2018.

The WHO TB report finds that although TB deaths declined from 1.7 million in 2016 to 1.6 million in 2017, for the fourth year in a row TB remains the leading global infectious killer. It notes that drug resistant TB is an ongoing public health crisis, with only about one in four people with drug resistant TB being treated.

Progress against TB will not be achieved without multi-pronged and sustained campaign involving both public and private health care sectors to improve TB detection, treatment and prevention efforts as well as for research focused on development and implementation of new tools. Such a broad-based attack will require additional funding globally, both from high-burden countries and from donor countries and organizations.

"The release of the WHO Global TB Report 2018 sets the stage for next week’s United Nations High Level Meeting on TB. The ATS urgently calls on the international community to seize the opportunity of this meeting and commit to ending TB through ambitious targets for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of TB, including the funding necessary to achieve this,” said TB expert and ATS past-president Philip Hopewell, MD.

Hopewell added, “We urge the Trump Administration to provide strong leadership and USG funding commitments at the UN High Level Meeting that, along with other country commitments, will put the world on the path to ending TB.”

“The ATS was founded as the American Sanitorium Association in 1905 by physicians caring for patients with TB. The Society currently has more than 16,000 worldwide members through which we pledge to continue our work to eliminate TB. The ATS and other similar professional societies serve as an important resource in this global effort. In collaboration with the WHO and other  partners, the ATS has produced international standards of care and are providing technical assistance and training in implementing those standards and other TB control, treatment and prevention strategies in countries highly burdened by TB,” noted ATS President Polly Parsons, MD.

Source: American Thoracic Society