Debate on World TB Day in House of Commons

On 27 March 2019, the House of Commons marked World TB Day with a debate in Westminster Hall.

You can watch the full debate here.

In his opening remarks, Nick Herbert MP emphasised the importance of accountability, saying that "the UK has a vital role to play in ensuring that there is more effective, sharper and independent accountability. Without that accountability, I fear that we will not met those targets, and if we do not, we do not have a chance of beating the disease within the set timeframe".

During the subsequent debate, APPG Vice-Chairs Nic Dakin MP and Jim Fitzpatrick MP shared their experiences of seeing the toll taken by Tuberculosis both in developing countries and in their own constituencies in the UK.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP spoke of the side-effects faced by people undergoing treatment for multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). His call for greater investment in and coordination of TB R&D was echoed by a number of colleagues.

Speaking on behalf of the SNP, Chris Law MP highlighted Scotland's contribution to TB research, concluding that TB "remains, tragically and ridiculously, an epidemic across the globe. We have to remind ourselves that it is treatable...We need to eradicate it with the same targeted focus and precision that we brought to polio and smallpox"

The forthcoming replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria was also a major topic of discussion, with members of the APPG emphasising the need for the UK to pledge at least £1.4 billion at the replenishment conference in October.

Stephen Twigg MP, Chair of the International Development Select Committee, said "the UK played a leading role during the last replenishment cycle, but if we are going to close the gap in finance that is required to meet the targets...all donors - including the UK - need to sep up their commitment to the Global Fund"

In his maiden speech from the front bench, Shadow Minister for International Development Alex Norris MP concluded: "Parliamentarians last discussed TB nine months ago. It seems that not an awful lot has changed. I hope that when we are next together, we can reflect on more progress."

International Development Minister Harriet Baldwin MP responded for the Government. Welcoming recent progress made in TB research, particularly on treatments and a vaccine, she emphasised the role of Product Development Partnerships such as the TB Alliance and IAVI. She also went on to recognise the role of the Global Fund and gave Members her assurances that the UK would continue its leadership at the forthcoming replenishment.

Closing the debate, Nick Herbert MP said: "I reiterate that the UK has a leadership position. This year, we can show it by replenishing the Global Fund, pressing for independent accountability and trying to achieve better coordination of research and development. Yes, we have made progress, but there is more to do. The UK needs to continue to show the leadership necessary to beat this terrible disease".

The full debate transcript can be viewed here.