MPs and Peers write to the Prime Minister to call for an end to to TB
TB is the world’s deadliest infectious disease, killing 1.7 million people a year – more than HIV and Malaria combined. The UK remains a TB hotspot in Europe, with over 5,000 cases last year. Rapidly spreading drug-resistant strains of the disease increase the risk.
I am delighted to join over 75 MPs and Peers in signing this letter (Below) to the Prime Minister, urging the Government to make ending TB a priority and to attend a UN High Level Meeting on TB in September. At the current rate of progress, the world will not reach the Sustainable Development Goal target of ending TB by 2030 for another 160 years – so it is essential that the High Level Meeting makes a new start.
Grahame Morris MP, one of the first MPs to sign the statement, said: “TB has killed more people than any other infectious disease in history and still kills 1.3 million people every single year. The only way that we’re going to beat the disease is if we have coordinated, global action.”
We are writing to draw your attention to the forthcoming UN High Level Meeting on Tuberculosis in New York on 26 September 2018 and to encourage the UK Government to make ending TB a priority during this global year of action.
As you know, TB remains the world’s deadliest infectious disease, killing 1.7 million people a year. As the only major drug-resistant infection to be transmitted by air, and the cause of one third of all antimicrobial resistance associated deaths, drug-resistant TB is a key element of the threat posed by AMR.
While the UK remains a TB hotspot in Europe, countries all over the world are struggling to contain an escalating epidemic, including many of our key allies in the Commonwealth and the G20. TB programmes remain under-resourced, and we lack the tools needed to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease effectively.
The UK can be proud of its record to date. Our investment in the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and TB has saved millions of lives. We continue to act as a global leader on AMR, and UK institutions are at the forefront of TB research.
However, at the current rate of progress, the world will not reach the Sustainable Development Goal target of ending TB by 2030 for another 160 years. Without a major change of pace, 28 million people will die needlessly before 2030, at a global economic cost of £700 billion.
Following recognition at last year’s G7, G20 and BRICS summits, as well as a WHO ministerial meeting on TB in November, the UN High Level Meeting offers an unprecedented opportunity to turn the tide against this terrible disease. The UN General Assembly’s Resolution “Encourages all Member States to participate in the High Level Meeting … at the highest possible level, preferably at the level of Heads of State and Government”.
We appreciate the very great pressures on your time. Nevertheless, we urge you to attend the UN High Level Meeting in person and support the proposed declaration. As a major global player in both international development and pharmaceutical research, the UK has a powerful potential role in galvanising action and showing the leadership which the world needs to beat TB.”