Ending TB featured prominently at the 70th World Health Assembly
20 April 2017, Geneva - As the first week of the 70th World Health Assembly (WHA) comes to a close, efforts to end TB were placed in the spotlight alongside the exciting election of the new WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Some highlights from this week are presented below:
21 May - Partners Group Consultation on the upcoming WHO Global Ministerial Conference to End TB in the Sustainable Development Era
On 21 May, over 30 partners met in person and via WebEx to advise on the preparation for the upcoming WHO Global Ministerial Conference on Ending TB in the Sustainable Development Era, which will be held in Moscow on 16-17 November. The vision and thematic tracks of the Conference were presented and discussed by participants- with important inputs provided in defining key outcome areas. Also discussed were means to maximize the impact of the Ministerial Conference in the lead up to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) High Level Meeting on TB in 2018.
22 May – Second Meeting of the Steering Committee for the WHO Ministerial Conference to End TB in the Sustainable Development Era
The second meeting of the high-level Steering Committee was held on 22 May to oversee the planning of the WHO Global Ministerial Conference. Members of the Steering Committee included senior representatives from WHO and the eight high-TB (and MDR-TB) burden countries from the six WHO regions, including Belarus, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Russian Federation and South Africa. In addition to the members, the representatives of the following Member States and partners were present as observers: Japan, Italy, UK, the United States of America, Viet Nam, Stop TB Partnership and the WHO Civil Society Task Force on TB.
The Steering Committee reviewed the status of preparation and strategic direction of the Ministerial Conference including the top outcome areas, thematic tracks, agenda framework, draft policy briefs and declaration development process, and endorsed the work.
23 May – Election of Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, newly elected Director-General of the World Health Organization
The WHO Global TB Programme welcomes the election of Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as the new Director-General of WHO.
“The TB community looks forward to the leadership of Dr Tedros with great hope,” said Dr Mario Raviglione, Director of the WHO Global TB Programme. “We believe that under his direction, we can urgently accelerate efforts to end TB”.
Dr Tedros was nominated by the Government of Ethiopia, and will begin his five-year term on 1 July 2017. Prior to his election as WHO’s next Director-General, Dr Tedros served as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ethiopia from 2012–2016 and as Minister of Health, Ethiopia from 2005–2012.
24 May – Interactive panel on the Ministerial Conference to end TB in the Sustainable Development Era
An interactive open panel was held on 24 May, designed to answer questions from WHA delegates on the upcoming WHO Global Ministerial Conference on Ending TB in the Sustainable Development Era. The panelists included, Mr Dmitriy Kostennikov, Deputy Minister of Health of the Russian Federation, Dr Gauden Galea, the Director of Noncommunicable Diseases from the WHO European Region and Dr Mario Raviglione, Director of the WHO Global TB Programme.
The event also featured a selfie stand where delegates were invited to be photographed with the logo of the Ministerial Conference and provided with a picture as a memento for promotion on social media.
25 May – World Health +SocialGood Broadcast on efforts to end TB and upcoming high-level events – the WHO Global Ministerial Conference to end TB in 2017 and the UNGA high level meeting on TB in 2018
During this year's World Health Assembly, WHO in collaboration with UN Foundation produced three Facebook live shows.
Dr Mario Raviglione, Director of the WHO Global TB Programme and Dr Teresa Kasaeva, Deputy Director of the Department of Health Care, Ministry of Health, Russian Federation and National Coordinator of TB Programmes, joined the SocialGood broadcast to discuss the global challenges of combating TB, the burden of TB in the Russian Federation and the upcoming high level events on TB: the First WHO Global Ministerial Conference «Ending TB in the Sustainable Development Era: A Multisectoral Response», Moscow, 16-17 November 2017 and the UNGA High-Level Meeting on TB, New York, 2018.
26 May – WHA side event on “Ending TB in the Sustainable Development Agenda”
On 26 May, an official side event co-sponsored by the Ministries of Health of the Russian Federation and South Africa were held during the World Health Assembly. The meeting brought together participants from countries, partners and civil society to discuss upcoming high-level events on TB including the First WHO Global Ministerial Conference «Ending TB in the Sustainable Development Era: A Multisectoral Response», Moscow, 16-17 November 2017 and the UNGA High-Level Meeting on TB, New York, 2018 and discuss ways to ensure engagement of diverse stakeholders.
The event also deliberated on the public health crisis of TB and MDR-TB, given the lack of research and innovation in TB for new diagnostics, drugs and vaccines and opportunities for new financing. This included a presentation on one model, the 3P Project, a new and innovative funding and incentive mechanism for the development of drugs and treatments for TB.
The event was moderated by WHO’s Assistant Director-General on HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases - Dr Ren Minghui. The Minister of Health of the Russian Federation, Prof. V. Skvortsova opened the meeting highlighting the current challenges in tackling TB and inviting participants to the upcoming WHO Global Ministerial Conference to end TB.
This was followed by addresses by Dr P Matsoso, Director General of Health of South Africa; Dr M. Raviglione, Director of Global TB Programme; Dr G. Brigden, 3P Senior Project Manager, the Union; and Dr A. A. Thin, Senior Health Advisor, USAID. Dr J. Ginnard, the Team Lead for Strategy at UNITAID, announced a new call for proposals for better, shorter treatment for MDR-TB.
The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO. It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board. The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of the Organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget. The Health Assembly is held annually in Geneva, Switzerland.