NAM Supports WHO’s End Tuberculosis Strategy

Non-Aligned Movement has voiced its concerns over the global threats posed by health epidemics and called on the Member States to consider the issue of halting and reversing the global threat posed by them. The Movement recognizes tuberculosis as one of these health epidemics and has called on the Member States to enhance their cooperation at the national, regional and international levels to confront and combat the scourge of tuberculosis. In this context, NAM calls for supporting the World Health Organization’s (WHO) End Tuberculosis (TB) Strategy.

The Strategy aims at 95% reduction by 2035 in the number of TB deaths compared with 2015, 90% reduction by 2035 in the TB incidence rate compared with 2015 and Zero TB-affected families facing catastrophic costs due to TB by 2035. The Strategy is based on three pillars: 1) Integrated, Patient-centred Care and Prevention – This pillar Focuses on early detection, treatment and prevention for all TB patients including children and aims to ensure that all TB patients not only have equal, unhindered access to affordable services, but also engage in their care; 2) Bold Policies and Supportive Systems – This pillar strengthens health and social sector policies and systems to prevent and end TB, supports implementation of universal health coverage, social protection, and strengthened regulatory framework, addresses the social determinants of TB and tackles TB among vulnerable groups; and 3) Intensified Research and Innovation – This pillar aims to intensify research from the development of new tools to their adoption and effective rollout in countries and calls for an urgent boost in research investments, so that new tools are developed, and made rapidly available and widely accessible in the next decade. The Strategy further highlights the need to engage partners within the health sector and beyond, such as in the fields of social protection, labour, immigration and justice.

Globally, the TB mortality rate is falling at about 3% per year. TB incidence is falling at about 2% per year and 16% of TB cases die from the disease; by 2020, these figures need to improve to 4–5% per year and 10%, respectively, to reach the first (2020) milestones of the End TB Strategy.

NAM Member States are actively working to achieve the goals. Two examples of India and Nigeria may be mentioned here. In India, as per the TB India annual report 2017, the incidence of TB has reduced from 289 per lakh per year in 2000 to 217 per lakh per year in 2015, and mortality due to TB has also reduced from 56 per lakh per year in 2000 to 36 per lakh per year in 2015. India has formulated the National Strategic Plan (NSP) for Tuberculosis Elimination 2017–2025. backed by a funding of over Rs 12,000 crore over the next three years to ensure every TB patient has access to quality diagnosis, treatment, and support.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for a multi-sectoral engagement and participation of all stakeholders at every level to create “TB-free village, panchayat, district and state”, noting that frontline TB physicians and workers could make a major contribution in this direction.

Nigeria has established the National Tuberculosis Control Programme, which developed the National Tuberculosis Strategy 2015-2020 framework. The objective of the framework is to provide universal access to high-quality, patient-centred prevention, diagnosis and treatment services for TB, TB/HIV and drug-resistant TB by 2020. The framework is consistent with the ‘End TB Strategy’ and incorporates the most recent internationally recommended diagnostic and treatment strategies. With support from a coalition of partners, Nigeria currently delivers TB treatment and care through a network of over 7,000 health facilities accredited by the National TB and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) up from 3,931 in 2,010. Similarly, the number of Drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) treatment centres has been progressively increased from 10 in 2013 to 28 in 2017.

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