Official UN General Assembly side-event: Progress and Multisectoral Action towards achieving global targets to end TB

Official UN General Assembly side-event: Progress and Multisectoral Action towards achieving global targets to end TB


Official UN General Assembly side-event: Progress and Multisectoral Action towards achieving global targets to end TB

Nearly 5000 people virtually joined the official UN General Assembly side-event: “Progress and Multisectoral Action towards achieving global targets to end TB” co-organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Russian Federation on 23 September. Held on the sidelines of the 75th UN General Assembly (UNGA), the event brought together a distinguished line-up of speakers spanning WHO and UN leadership, health ministers, partners and civil society.


The side-event marked two years since the 2018 UN High Level Meeting on TB which resulted in a political declaration made by Heads of State to accelerate the TB response. The declaration included a request to the UN Secretary General for a 2020 report on progress towards achieving targets and implementation of the UN political declaration on TB. This report was the focus of the 2020 UNGA side event – with discussions centering on the collective actions required to implement the recommendations outlined in the report to advance multisectoral action and accelerate progress to end TB. A spotlight was also placed on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on progress towards ending TB.

The UNGA side-event was opened by WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and the Honourable Minister of Health of the Russian Federation Dr Mikhail Murashko. Deputy UN Secretary General Ms Amina Mohammed delivered the keynote address. Ms Blessina Kumar, member of the WHO Civil Society Taskforce on TB  and CEO of GCTA made a passionate call for greater investment, accountability and research to end TB especially in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.

A brief overview of the 2020 progress report to the General Assembly was presented by Dr Tereza Kasaeva, Director of WHO’s Global TB Programme, who also moderated the event. The Report comes at a mid-point of efforts to reach the 2022 targets in the UN High Level Meeting political declaration on TB. Overall, the report shows that high-level commitments and targets have galvanized global and national progress towards ending TB, but that urgent and more ambitious investments and actions are required, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. 10 priority recommendations (see below) are outlined to put the world on track to reach agreed targets by 2022 and beyond, and reduce the enormous human and societal toll caused by TB. For more information access the overview here

The first session of the meeting focused on country actions and progress. High level speakers included: Hon. Osagie Ehanire, Federal Minister of Health, Nigeria; Hon. Terawan Agus Putranto, Minister of Health, Indonesia; Hon. Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, India; Hon. Eduardo Pazuello, Minister of Health, Brazil and Prof. Tran Van Thuan, Vice Minister of Health, Viet Nam. They showcased national efforts and leadership towards reaching TB targets, and also highlighted the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on TB services and the synergies achieved by tackling both diseases together.

This was followed by an interactive panel discussion with key partners on their roles and contribution towards sustaining and strengthening multisectoral action and progress towards ending TB, including in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. Key speakers included, Dr Peter Sands, Executive Director, Global Fund; Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director, Stop TB Partnership; Dr Alma Golden, Assistant Administrator for Global Health, US Agency for International Development (USAID); Dr Philippe Duneton, Executive Director, UNITAID and The Rt Hon The Lord Nick Herbert of South Downs.

The UNGA side-event was closed by Dr Ren Minghui, WHO Assistant Director-General, Universal Health Coverage/Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases, with words of appreciation for the speakers and the audience. He emphasized the importance of keeping the momentum strong to end TB especially in times of crisis.


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