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Turning the newly made promises at the UNHLM into action

THE HAGUE – KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation looks back with satisfaction at the UN HLM that took place in New York on the 26 September 2018 on tuberculosis (TB), the most deadly infectious disease in the world. At this meeting world leaders made important commitments, which are urgently needed to overcome the TB epidemic by 2030. This involved not only improvement in their own country, but also international contributions to the development and introduction of new lab tests and medicines.

Commitments made

More than 4,000 people die from TB every day, while the disease is easy to treat. The aim to stop the TB-epidemic by 2030 falls under the Sustainable Development Goals that were agreed by the UN in 2015. This Wednesday, for the first time in history, a UN meeting was completely focused on TB. World leaders at the meeting have committed to ensure that 40 million people with TB will receive the care they need by end 2022. They also agreed to provide 30 million people with preventive treatment to protect them from developing TB.

Concrete actions

Executive director of KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, Kitty van Weezenbeek, was present at the UN meeting. Van Weezenbeek: “A great step has been taken in New York. Now it is important to turn these political promises into concrete actions. There is a lot to do and the Dutch TB-experts from KNCV and academic centers are ready to shape the innovations.”

Vaccine

Besides politics, there was more good news in New York for TB control. Finally there is a prospect of a promising vaccine and pioneering new laboratory tests and medicines are coming up. Van Weezenbeek: “The prevention, diagnosis and treatment of active TB will become much easier in the coming years. It is our job to bring these innovations optimally together in the TB-programs that we support worldwide.”

International TB conference in The Hague

To take even more big steps in the fight against TB, some 4,000 experts from more than 125 countries will meet in The Hague next month. KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, together with the municipality of The Hague, are the local co-hosts of the 49th World Conference on Lung Health (24-27 October) in the World Forum. In addition to the congress for professionals, there is also a public program.

UN Photo/Rick Bajornas