Advocates to seek TB funding targets at 2018 high-level meeting

A health worker hands over tuberculosis medication to a patient. Photo by: PAHO / CC BY-NC

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Global tuberculosis experts want to see numerical funding targets for combating the epidemic set at the first United Nations high-level meeting on the disease next year.

Experts want to set additional targets for 2020 and 2025 linked with the World Health Organization’s End TB Strategy, as well as a corresponding accountability mechanism.

At the 48th Union World Conference on Lung Health, deputy executive director of the Stop TB Partnership, Dr. Suvanand Sahu, said civil society must also be included in the meeting, along with the attendance of at least 40 member states. Advocates are seeking a commitment to hold a high-level meeting on TB every four years.

“What is a good high-level meeting for TB? This is what we think is success, and we need to work towards it,” Dr. Sahu said.

Dr. Eric Goosby, U.N. special envoy on tuberculosis, called on governments around the world to take urgent action.

“It’s time for the science to be translated to the policymakers,” he said. “Finally, in the next 14 months we will have an opportunity to put the issues that confront us daily on the world stage. We need to translate the experience TB has had on a global level to those individuals in a political position.”

Dr. Christoph Benn, director of external relations at the Global Fund, told Devex the high-level meeting presented a unique opportunity to move toward the goal of ending the epidemic by 2035.

“It’s very significant that next year there will this political forum. I do expect increased political commitment,” he said.

Dr. Benn said the priority from the meeting would be increased domestic funding.

“The priority is domestic funding. There’s no question about it. Countries should increase their own funding,” he told Devex. “Almost all governments around the world fall short of what is required and what are benchmarks of domestic spending on health.”

He added that he hoped the high-level meeting would also spur international funding.

“For the foreseeable future there will be a need for international funding to complement [domestic funding]. It will be an opportunity to re-energize the international community … to say that this is a very important topic.”

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About the author

  • Sophie Cousins

    Sophie Cousins a Devex Contributor based in South Asia. She is a health journalist focused on women and girls. She was previously based between Lebanon and Iraq, focusing on refugee health and conflict. She writes for international medical journals, including The Lancet, and for international news websites such as the Guardian.