Over a hundred people joined the UN General Assembly high level side-event: “Progress and Multisectoral Action towards achieving global targets to end TB” co-organized by the Government of Indonesia and the World Health Organization on 20 September 2022. Held on the margins of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), the event brought together a distinguished line up of speakers including Health Ministers and other high-level government representatives, WHO leadership, Heads of Agencies, TB survivors, civil society and partners.
As Indonesia holds the 2022 G20 Presidency, a spotlight was placed on G20 leadership on ending TB, building on the outcomes of the first G20 Health Working Group side event on TB “Call to Action on financing the TB response”. The focus of the UNGA side event was on reviewing progress towards reaching global TB targets, advancing multisectoral action and accountability, and discussing preparations for the 2023 UN High Level Meeting on TB.
The UNGA side event was opened by WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and the Honourable Minister of Health of Indonesia Budi Gunadi Sadikin. Dr Tedros called for urgent action to restore essential life-saving TB services, scaling up of investments to increased access to prevention and care, as well as for research, and to integrate TB services into primary health care. The Honourable Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin urged countries, civil societies, industry, and international organizations to keep expanding strategic partnerships and collaboration, to make the world free from TB for future generations. He emphasized the G20 leadership of Indonesia in advancing the TB agenda and called for more investments for TB and for research on new vaccines. He also highlighted that the success of the country in enabling rapid access to COVID-19 testing, could serve as an important benchmark for ramping up access to TB diagnosis. Ms Jackie Cuen, a TB survivor and advocate made a passionate plea to ensure access to life-saving TB prevention, diagnosis and treatment services for all in need, newer shorter, safer treatments and more effective vaccines.
The first session of the meeting focused on country actions and progress. High level speakers included: Hon. Dr. Mathume Joseph Phaahla, Minister of Health of South Africa, Hon. Dr Khumbize Chiponda, Minister of Health of Malawi, H.E. Ms. Stéphanie Seydoux, French Ambassador for Global Health, Ms Loyce Pace, Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs (OGA), United States Department of Health and Human Services, and Mr. Eiji Hinoshita, Assistant Minister for Global Health and Welfare of Japan.
They showcased progress and commitments towards achieving the 2022 TB targets committed to by Heads of State at the 2018 UN High Level Meeting on TB, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and key actions taken to build multisectoral engagement and accountability to end TB. The perspectives of countries looking forward to the 2023 UN High Level Meeting on TB were also shared.
This was followed by an interactive panel discussion with key partners on their roles and contribution towards sustaining and strengthening multisectoral action and progress towards ending TB, including on the roll out of innovations and TB research. The speakers included, Lady Roslyn Morauta, Vice Chair of Global Fund, who focused on the Global Fund replenishment and contribution to TB resource mobilization and financing, Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of Stop TB Partnership who called for increased investments and put a spotlight on civil society and community engagement, Dr Philippe Duneton, Executive Director, UNITAID shared updates on TB research and innovations, including on market shaping and access, and Sir Jeremy Farrar, Director of Wellcome Trust focused on new TB vaccine development and the importance of engaging communities in the process early.
The UNGA side-event was closed by Dr. Maxi Rein Rondowunu, DG of prevention and disease control of Ministry of Health of Indonesia, with words of appreciation for the speakers and the audience. This was followed by a Vote of thanks from WHO. The event was moderated by Dr Werner Obermeyer, Director of WHO Office at the United Nations and Ms Hannah Monica Dias, Cross-cutting lead, WHO Global TB Programme, under the overall coordination of Dr Tereza Kasaeva, Director of WHO-s Global TB Programme.