G20 Health Ministers recognise global TB threat

For the first time ever G20 Health Ministers met in Berlin last month to discuss the world's major health challenges, including antimicrobial resistance or AMR.

The UK Government has been at the forefront of efforts to address AMR: in 2014 commissioning the independent Review chaired by Lord O’Neill, which last year published its final recommendations and which helped garner international interest in this issue ahead of a UN High Level Meeting.

The O’Neill Review noted that TB accounts for a third of AMR deaths and found that, if left unaddressed, by 2050 will have cumulative economic costs of over US$16 trillion. With this in mind, it concluded that ‘tackling TB and drug-resistant TB must be at the heart of any global action against AMR’. TB is the only major airborne drug-resistant infection and is already the world’s leading infectious killer, which last year killed 1.8 million people – almost 5,000 every day.

Through a series of parliamentary debates, questions and representations to ministers, as well as our event to mark World TB Day, APPG Members have sought to ensure that the UK presses for TB is prioritised within any agreement on tackling AMR made at the G20.

The APPG therefore welcomes the Health Ministers' outcome document which specifically includes a paragraph on TB:

"We recognise drug-resistant tuberculosis as an important threat and therefore commit to address tuberculosis within interventions for AMR. We acknowledge the need to develop and promote access to new drugs, diagnostics and vaccines to tackle drug-resistant tuberculosis consistent with the WHO End TB Strategy. We recognize the importance of other relevant initiatives and plans, such as the STOP TB Partnership. We welcome the decision by Member States to hold a United Nations High Level Meeting on Tuberculosis in 2018 and the WHO Ministerial Conference on Ending TB in the Sustainable Development Era to be held in Moscow in November 2017."