Following a campaign launched by Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, Co-Chair of the Global TB Caucus and Minister of Health of South Africa, the United Nations General Assembly has agreed to hold a High-Level Meeting (HLM) on Tuberculosis through a resolution endorsed today by member states at UN headquarters in New York.
TB is the world’s leading infectious killer and figures released by the World Health Organisation in October showed that there were 10.4 million new cases in 2015 and 1.8 million deaths, a revision upwards from 1.5 million the previous year.
Despite the increasingly urgent need to combat the epidemic, TB has maintained a low profile on the global political agenda, failing to receive the attention and resources it deserves.
A High-Level Meeting is a special session of the United Nations General Assembly convened by governments on issues of global political importance. Previous HLMs have resulted in action orientated UN political declarations endorsed by Heads of State, which have formed the basis for accelerated national efforts. The HLM on TB will be the fifth time in history UN member states have convened a High-Level Meeting devoted to a health issue, following previous meetings on HIV/AIDS (2001), Non-communicable diseases (2011), Ebola (2014) and Antimicrobial Resistance (2015).