November Moscow conference will inform 2018 United Nations high level meeting
When ministers of health and leaders of other government offices and agencies worldwide gather in Moscow this November for a Global Ministerial Conference on Ending TB, they will face the task of agreeing to make enough changes to what they are doing now to pull goals of ending the impact of the world’s leading infectious disease killer into reach.
Those goals include reducing the number of deaths from the disease, which currently kills an estimated 5000 people a day, by 95 percent, reducing the number of new illnesses by 90 percent, and eliminating the catastrophic economic impacts the disease inflicts on families altogether by 2035. There are mileposts along the way — 2020 goals of reducing deaths by 35 percent, reducing incidence by 20 percent, and ending catastrophic costs completely by 2020 — and 2030 Sustainable Development Goals of reducing deaths from TB by 90 percent, incidence by 80 percent, and ending catastrophic costs completely. But, the World Health Organization, along with experts and advocates worldwide, have agreed that none of them will be met at the pace of current efforts, resources and funding.
The Conference, organized by WHO, to which representatives of health and other agencies from all member states are invited, and for which the 40 countries with the greatest burdens of tuberculosis will be supported to attend, will aim for commitments to speed the adoption of policies and increase investments to the levels needed to fill the current gaps between goals and realities. It will mean committing to collaborate with global partners as well as with communities and civil societies, to protect patients and their rights, to adopt proven policies and strategies, and globally to spend at least $1 billion more each year to make the advances needed.
Signing on to a conference declaration that includes specific, concrete and measurable action will be the first step, and the first draft — or zero draft — of that declaration is here. An online consultation, which opens the document for review and feedback from WHO member states, institutions, networks, organizations, coalitions and individuals, and which offers the most direct opportunity for civil society organizations to contribute to its content, will continue until June 30. Instructions for online input are here.