THE ongoing United Nations High-Level meeting on Tuberculosis happening in New York has registered a conspicuous absence of European heads of states amidst indications that only the Turkish leader is the only leader from the block to have confirmed attendance to date.
The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) Director of Stratedy, Paul Jensen expressed concern at the almost non-existent attendance of Heads of State from Europe attending the inaugural United Nations (UN) High-Level Meeting (HLM) On the Fight To End Tuberculosis (TB).
“Ahead of the HLM we’ve seen tremendous leadership from Japan, sub-Saharan Africa and philanthropist Bill Gates in particular but the fact that as of this morning not a single Head of State from Europe aside from Turkey was confirmed to attend is a huge concern,” said Jensen.
“Today the world will take urgently needed steps toward ending TB, the world´s biggest infectious disease killer, but for this to become a reality we need to have a serious conversation around TB research and development.
“TB will not be eliminated unless we have better diagnostics, better drugs and an effective vaccine. That conversation must include more high-level involvement from the European Union and from more of the G20 countries. TB is at a crossroads – we cannot tolerate a status quo where investments in TB care from the world’s wealthier countries are low and on the decline.“
TB can be prevented and cured yet is now the biggest infectious killer in the world. Each year TB takes the lives of some 1.6 million people and 10 million people develop TB disease, including some one million children.