Leaders from across the globe will converge in the national capital for an End Tuberculosis summit beginning next week to review ongoing efforts and accelerate action to reach the 2030 End TB goal, the WHO said today.
The summit will be hosted by the Union Ministry of Health along with the WHO and the Stop TB Partnership.
The summit will be inaugurated on March 13 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and addressed by WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Union Health Minister J P Nadda and Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Chair of the Stop TB Partnership.
WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Stop TB Partnership Executive Director Dr Lucica Ditiu and Global Fund Executive Director Peter Sands would be present at the meeting.
TB was responsible for 1.7 million deaths in 2016, despite most cases being curable while over 10 million people contract TB every year.
WHO South-East Asia Region, including India, which hosts about one-fourth of the global population, shares a disproportionate 46 per cent global TB disease burden, the global health body said.
"The Delhi End TB Summit builds on the Delhi Call to Action adopted by member countries of the WHO South-East Asia Region in March 2017, and the WHO Global Ministerial Conference 'Ending TB in the Sustainable Development Era: A Multisectoral Response' held in Moscow in November last year," the WHO said in a statement.
The summit next week would set the stage for the September 2018 United Nations High-Level Meeting on TB, where for the first time, TB would be discussed in the UN General Assembly at the Heads of State level.
The UN high-level meeting is expected to endorse an ambitious set of goals to put the world on a course to ending TB.
"As part of next week's summit, health ministers and programme heads from WHO South-East Asia Region will review accelerated efforts being made by countries since the adoption of Delhi Call to Action," the statement said.
The WHO said since then, countries in the Region have beefed up efforts to end TB.
"India, which had set a 2025 target, is matching it up with increased funding and efforts to pro-actively detect and treat patients," the global health body said.
Indonesia, on the other hand, was moving toward the universal use of rapid molecular tests to diagnose and treat missing TB cases while Thailand had approved a strategic plan to significantly reduce TB incidence, and Maldives recently launched its national strategic plan.
"On March 14-15, the Stop TB Partnership will hold its board meeting, which is being hosted in India after 14 years, demonstrating the country's resolve to fast-track efforts to end the killer disease," the statement added.
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