TAG Responds to the Release of the World Health Organization's 2016 Global Tuberculosis Report
October 13, 2016
"TB is a preventable, curable disease, and the dismal lack of progress against reversing the TB epidemic is unacceptable. Last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that TB had overtaken HIV as the world's leading cause of death from an infectious disease, and this year the WHO numbers show that the TB epidemic is larger than previously estimated—mostly due to new surveillance data from India, where the government has been slow to provide universal access to proven interventions against TB. Bad news on TB year after year shows that much more ambitious and comprehensive implementation of existing interventions, as well as dramatically increased investment in new drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines, are needed more urgently than ever. Yet funding for TB research has actually decreased, as a report that Treatment Action Group will release in two weeks will show. Global institutions and activists have set ambitious targets to end TB, and member states of the United Nations speak to lofty ideals for addressing antimicrobial resistance, but the money to make good on these promises has not followed. In the meantime, governments have allowed the violation of the human rights of the millions of people who fall ill with and die from TB each year. We cannot uphold the human right to health unless we give all people with TB and those at risk of acquiring it access to the best-quality services that we know work for all forms of TB—adult and pediatric, HIV-related and not, drug-sensitive and drug-resistant. We cannot uphold the human right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress until governments invest in research to develop better prevention, diagnosis, and treatment options. We will only end TB when governments fully fund the research and public health response required to combat a global epidemic of this magnitude."
––Mark Harrington, executive director, Treatment Action Group