Press release |

South Africa and Rwanda’s leaders commit to attend September UN TB Summit

Sydelle WIllow Smith / Médecins Sans Frontières
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MSF calls on other key governments to follow suit to address the global TB emergency

3 July 2018, Johannesburg/New York – At the African Union Summit in Mauritania this week, South African President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa and Rwandan President Paul Kagame just announced publicly that they will attend the United Nation’s first-ever High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis (TB) this September in New York. Being held to coincide with the UN’s annual General Assembly meeting, the 26 September TB Summit’s goal is to step up efforts to fight TB and reach all people affected by the disease with prevention and care.

You can’t fight TB if you don’t show up—world leaders need to prove they’re serious about tackling this disease

TB is the world’s deadliest infectious disease, killing nearly 1.7 million people in 2016. Yet progress to address this epidemic remains globally stagnant. The upcoming TB Summit could offer much-needed political momentum and a platform for global leaders to come forward with new commitments to close the deadly treatment, testing, and prevention gaps. The Summit is expected to result in a political declaration on TB endorsed by all governments, with concrete commitments to reduce senseless deaths and the continued spread of the disease.


Quote from Sharonann Lynch, HIV & TB Advisor, MSF Access Campaign:

“There is no good reason why TB, which is curable, should continue to kill 1.7 million people per year. We are encouraged that the leaders of South Africa and Rwanda are taking the lead in committing to attend the first-ever UN TB Summit to make bold and measurable commitments to tackle this deadly disease. MSF now calls on leaders of all countries—but especially those that struggle with high rates of TB and can contribute more to TB research and development, like Brazil, India, China and Russia—to confirm they’ll attend the TB Summit, and also strongly back their recently created BRICS ‘TB Research Network’. You can’t fight TB if you don’t show up—world leaders need to prove they’re serious about tackling this disease.

People living and dying with TB across the globe need this TB Summit to result in tangible and commitments and actions by all countries to dramatically ramp up testing, treatment and prevention of TB, and to support the development of desperately needed new drugs, diagnostics and vaccines. Governments need to transform the TB response into one that puts people first, and also need to be held to account so that they actually deliver on their promises.”