GHC statement on ending TB at the 73rd World Health Assembly

November 09, 2020

Global Health Council was unable to submit statements on all (or some) official agenda items.

Global Health Council, supported by the Global Health Technologies Coalition and the Infectious Diseases Society of America, commend WHO and Member States on accelerating efforts to meet global TB elimination goals. The world is not yet on track to end the TB epidemic by 2030. In many countries, resources have been diverted from TB programs to the COVID-19 response, resulting in significant reductions in case notifications and disruptions in access to treatment and prevention, leading to as many as 400,000 additional deaths in 2020. This disruption to treatment access will result in increased drug resistance, exacerbating the global antimicrobial resistance crisis. 

Countries must take action to restore and maintain TB case finding, treatment, and prevention. We recommend innovative measures, including expanding digital technologies to provide remote advice and support, supporting home-based treatment, and ensuring patients’ drug supply. 

We urge member states to adopt the global strategy for TB research and innovation and close the $1.3 billion funding gap for TB research & development (R&D) annually by dedicating at least 0.1% of annual total gross domestic R&D expenditure to TB R&D. New investments coupled with efficient technology assessment and evaluation of new TB products by WHO will be vital. High burden countries too often rely on old technologies, highlighting the need for new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics, including rapid molecular and point of care diagnostics, TB preventive therapies, and shorter, better quality treatment regimens to ensure adherence and mitigate debilitating side effects.

New tools must be affordable, acceptable, and accessible to the people who need them, as new treatments remain out of reach for too many. To end TB, we need a renewed commitment and investment from WHO and Member States in R&D and capacity building for uptake of new technologies.