UN Special Envoy warns of deadly synergy between TB and HIV
Jakarta 29 November 2006
The UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Stop TB, Dr Jorge Sampaio, has warned of the "deadly synergy" between TB and HIV, and described the current investment in TB control as "woefully inadequate".
"We know that TB has become a global pandemic due to the disease's deadly synergy with HIV, as well as the woefully inadequate investment in TB control, surveillance and research," said the former President of Portugal in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Speaking on behalf of WHO and the Stop TB Partnership, he called on Asian leaders to continue making the fight against TB a top priority, especially given the threat of drug-resistant TB across Asia. It is estimated that 55 percent of the world's multidrug-resistant TB cases are in India and China.
His call was endorsed by WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia, Samlee Plianbangchang, who spoke of the specific challenges facing the region: "The key before us is whether we have the means to implement the new Stop TB Strategy successfully. One of the main concerns is to reach the unreached; the poor, undeserved and marginalized."
There has been major progress in expanding quality TB control across the region. Case detection and treatment success rates are improving as a result of political commitment and investment in improved infrastructure, reliable drug supplies, increased staffing, improved laboratory services, and intensified training and supervision. To build on these achievements and reach the 2015 global TB targets, political commitment must be strengthened and supported with increased funding. WHO's regional strategic recommendations must also be fully implemented.
TB claims the lives of more than one million people across Asia every year, equivalent to one person every 30 seconds. The Stop TB Partnership's Coordinating Board is meeting in Jakarta to review global progress and latest developments in TB control.
For more information:
TB in WHO South-East Asia Region: http://www.searo.who.int/en/Section10/Section2097.htm
Stop TB Partnership Coordinating Board: www.stoptb.org