Today, political representatives spanning 5 continents signed the Barcelona Declaration on Tuberculosis (TB), committing themselves to work for sustained action and significant investment in the fight against TB.
The declaration was the result of the inaugural Global TB Summit, which brought together elected representatives from around the world to galvanise the political will needed to tackle TB, and to create a clear vision for the role of parliamentarians in combatting the epidemic.
““As elected representatives we have reached across geographic and political divides to plan how we can use our leadership and influence to demand more effective action to beat the TB epidemic", said Nick Herbert MP, co-chairman of the APPG TB. “By signing the Declaration we are committing to work together in a global effort to prioritise TB on political agendas in every country which has a role in combatting this disease.”
Co-organised by International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease and the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Global TB, the Summit also resulted in the creation of a Global TB Caucus—a globe-spanning network of parliamentarians that will drive these efforts.
TB is both preventable and treatable, but it still kills 1.5 million people every year. Further, drug-resistant strains of this airborne disease are growing in strength; a recent World Health Organization report showed that thousands of people who have drug-resistant TB are not being successfully treated for this deadly and contagious illness.
The Declaration also called for a new model of model of research and development for TB that will sustain and enhance the existing pipeline of desperately needed new TB drugs, diagnostics and vaccines; ensuring that new treatments are available, accessible, appropriate and affordable for all who need them.
"TB usually receives far less attention than it deserves in parliaments across the world, and less than other high profile diseases, despite being a global killer which in its drug resistant form is especially dangerous.” Mr Herbert added. “As new threats like Ebola rightly command concern and attention, we need to remind political leaders that TB still accounts for 1.5 million lives every year, which means that every day it kills as many people as Ebola has in total. The world cannot afford to make choices between tackling these terrible diseases - it must fight on every front to beat these epidemics."
“TB represents a threat to both the lives and livelihoods of people in every country in the world. No country can fight TB alone,” said Mario Raviglione, Director of the World Health Organisation Global TB Programme. “This new Global TB caucus is an essential step to foment a truly robust and sustainable global response to this global disease.”
The Declaration has been signed by representatives from the Brazil, Canada, France, Kenya, India, South Africa, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, and the United States. A full text of the Declaration can be found here.