[This article has been published in Spanish in the Huffington Post]
We cannot allow TB to continue wreaking its usual havoc in 2018
Can you imagine if the real politicians really gave their attention to a global health challenge? If leaders from different countries, cultures and economic level reached an agreement? This could happen this year with tuberculosis (TB), one of the most deadly diseases on the planet, killing 1.7 million people every year or, in other words, causing between 4,500 and 5,000 deaths every day. Very few infectious diseases get close to inflicting so much human, sanitary, economic and social damage. Because of this, we cannot allow TB to continue wreaking its usual havoc in 2018.
It is expected that in 2018 ALL of the world’s countries ratify and concretize the roadmap outlined in what is already known as the 'Moscow Declaration'
What if the 193 member countries of the United Nations finally passed from well-intended declarations to measures that actually save and improve millions of lives? After many years of political neglect, it is expected that in 2018 ALL of the world’s countries (because TB is present in all countries) ratify and concretize the roadmap outlined in what is already known as the “Moscow Declaration”. The first High Level Meeting on TB will be celebrated during the next UN General Assembly in New York in September, and it is expected that the good intentions will finally transform into actions.
What does the Moscow Declaration say? Among other things, it asks for political commitment and will to help countries monitor their efforts and progress. The declaration also argues for increasing investment in research and development of new tools (diagnostic tests, treatments, vaccines) that can help accelerate the slow decline of the disease (around 2% of cases every year) at the global level.
WHO Campaign poster "Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free World"
The time is now. 2018 could be the year when efforts are joined and the countdown begins for ending TB
In short, it is expected that this year the countries will say how and when they plan to increase their contribution to the fight against TB. Those preparing the high level meeting in September are concentrating efforts to ensure that whatever agreement is reached during the meeting, it will have concrete and measurable terms of reference, to avoid it becoming a pie in the sky and losing a golden opportunity. The time is now. 2018 could be the year when efforts are joined and the countdown begins for ending TB.