61st World Health Assembly opening
19 May 2008 -- Geneva -- From the WHO Director-General's address:
"Tuberculosis has a good diagnostic and treatment strategy, and we have solid evidence that the approach works. Progress remains steady, though the rate of case detection has slowed compared with recent years.
Poor medical practices, which contribute to the development of drug resistance, are a major concern. Earlier this year, WHO issued a report showing that multidrug-resistant TB has reached the highest levels ever recorded.
Even more worrisome is the continuing occurrence of extensively drug-resistant TB, which is virtually impossible to treat. To allow this form of TB to become widespread would be a setback of epic proportions. For these patients, our treatment options effectively go back to the era that predates the advent of antibiotics.
Next month, I will be joining the UN Secretary-General at the first-ever global leadership forum on scaling up the response to the co-epidemics of HIV and TB. This is yet another example of the growing engagement of world leaders in health issues.
The forum takes place at a time when several high-burden countries are showing very promising increases in the numbers of people accessing integrated HIV/TB services. Leadership, also from the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to Stop TB, former president Mr Jorge Sampaio of Portugal, can take this momentum a step further."
Dr Margaret Chan
Director-General of the World Health Organization