Statement |

144th WHO EB: Follow-up to the high-level meetings of the United Nations General Assembly on health-related issues: Ending tuberculosis

Katy Athersuch
Medical Innovation & Access Policy Adviser
MSF Access Campaign
2 min

WHO Executive Board, 144th Session, January 2019
MSF Statement: Agenda item 5.8.3 (EB144/21) – Follow-up to the high-level meetings of the United Nations General Assembly on health-related issues: Ending tuberculosis

WHO Executive Board's Special Session on EbolaUN Photo/Christopher Black

Speaker: Katy Athersuch

MSF has been treating TB for 30 years and is the largest non-governmental provider of treatment for drug-resistant TB.

Following the UN High-Level Meeting on Ending TB:
We ask that Member States vigorously invest in reaching the 2022 targets for people with DR-TB. To do so, Member States will need to triple the number of people with DR-TB who are currently diagnosed and treated each year. Today’s status quo – where 71% of people with DR-TB remain undiagnosed – is unacceptable.

We ask that Member States rapidly implement the new all-oral DR-TB treatment regimens as recommended by WHO. This includes updating national guidelines by April 2020, treating 100% of new patients with rifampicin-resistant and multi-drug resistant TB with all-oral, bedaquiline-containing regimens, and discontinuing the use of DR-TB treatment regimens that contain painful and ototoxic injectables. Member States must step up and take action to reduce the price of bedaquiline, including through negotiation and demanding full transparency over R&D and manufacturing costs and drug pricing, and the use of TRIPS flexibilities.

We ask that Member States rapidly adopt the imminent WHO TB multisectoral accountability framework with measurable national targets. These targets should include the already-agreed goal of reaching 90% of those in need with treatment by 2023, and – for all Member States that currently diagnose and report less than 50% of people estimated to have TB – the goal of increasing diagnosis to reach at least 70% within three years. Member States should also commit to reducing TB-related mortality at the national level to meet the End TB milestone of reducing TB deaths by 75% by 2025 compared to 2015 rates.

Finally, we call on WHO to convene a global TB cabinet to review performance against national and global targets and milestones as part of the accountability framework WHO is developing.


How is it possible...

...that we sent people to the moon almost 50 years ago, yet millions of people with tuberculosis are still treated with old, inadequate medicines?