RESULTS UK statement on the WHO Global TB Report for 2018

London, 17 October 2019 – The fight against tuberculosis (TB), the world’s biggest infectious disease killer, is winnable. Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) released the 2018 Global TB Report containing new data on the global epidemic. It shows marked improvements in countries where progressive policies were matched with ambitious funding and political leadership.

A year on from the first UN High-Level Meeting on TB, it is encouraging to see that due to increased efforts to find those previous missed, 600,000 more people were able to access quality TB treatment than in 2017. The most significant gains were reported in India and Indonesia, where both governments have dramatically scaled up programmes in the last two years. A total of ten countries are now on track to reach the 2020 targets set by the WHO’s End TB Strategy, largely thanks to their concerted investments in active case-finding and person-centred care models.

The challenge ahead is still great. The UN target for next year requires countries to find and treat an additional 1 million people. Despite encouraging progress, almost a third of all people thought to develop TB each year still go unreported. Despite the global crisis presented by drug-resistant TB, only 30% of all people with drug-resistant TB are put on the appropriate treatment. Despite the commitments made by world leaders at last year’s UN summit, funding for TB programmes still fell US $5 billion short of the estimated need for 2018.

Last week’s record-breaking replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, which raised US $14 billion for the next three years, was an important milestone. This is particularly because the marked improvements in this year’s Global TB Report are found in countries part of the Global Fund’s strategic initiative to “Find the Missing Millions”.  

Aaron Oxley, Executive Director of RESULTS UK said:

“The time for business as usual is over. We see in this year’s report that investing in good TB programmes delivers results - and we’re thrilled to see such a big increase in people being treated. We now need governments, the Global Fund and partners around the world to make sure that every person with TB receives the treatment they need. Delivering on that ambition is going to take real political leadership and a commitment to not taking our foot off the accelerator when it matters most.”

Considering the report in relation to last month’s UN High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage, Rachael Hore, Policy Advocacy Officer for RESULTS UK said: “At last month’s UN General Assembly, world leaders promised that no person should be pushed into poverty by the cost of healthcare. With over 10 million people newly affected each year and a high proportion of them experiencing catastrophic costs associated with the disease, TB is a good place to start.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

  • TB is the world’s leading infectious disease killer, with 10 million cases and 1.5 million deaths in 2018. This equates to around 4,000 people each day.
  • Drug-resistant TB is responsible for 1/3 of all deaths associated with Antimicrobial Resistance. While current treatments take between 9 and 12 months and come in hand with a host of side-effects, treatment success rates hover at just above 50%.
  • At last year’s UN High-Level Meeting on TB, world leaders committed to drastically accelerating the global response to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goal of ending TB by 2030. This included a series of specific targets on case-finding, investments in programmes and R&D, and ensuring the response was person-centred and human rights sensitive.
  • The UK has made sizeable investments in the fight against TB, through both the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (the delivery channel for 73% of all donor assistance to fight TB), and in funding research and development into new tools to prevent, diagnose and treat TB.
  • At the UN High-Level Meeting, world leaders committed to increasing financing for global TB programmes to US$ 13 billion each year by 2022. The Global TB Report shows funding for TB programmes globally reaching US$ 6.8 billion in 2018. The Stop TB Partnership’s Global Plan to End TB 2016-2020 puts the funding need for 2018 at US$ 11.7 billion.
  • Survey results in 14 countries reveal that 27-83% of people with drug-sensitive TB and 67-100% of people with drug-resistant TB experience catastrophic costs associated with TB.
  • Undernutrition is the biggest risk factor for developing TB disease, with 2.3 million cases attributable to undernourishment.

For media enquiries please contact: rachael.hore@results.org.uk 07840 274860.

Every word counts! TB, like many diseases, is often highly stigmatising. To ensure writing about TB does not inadvertently increase this stigma, please consult this guide developed by the Stop TB Partnership.

RESULTS UK is a movement of passionate, committed, everyday people who together use their voices to influence political decisions that will bring an end to poverty. For more information please visit www.results.org.uk

ENDS.

RESULTS UK is a charity registered as RESULTS Education in England and Wales (1015286), a company limited by guarantee (2761858), and a charity registered in Scotland (SC041481).