Tackle poverty and inequality to eradicate TB, says António Guterres

Tackle poverty and inequality to eradicate TB, says António Guterres

António Guterres has urged for greater efforts into universal health coverage and minimising the social drivers of tuberculosis, notably poverty and inequality, in order to eradicate it.

He urged civil society groups at an interactive dialogue on Monday to lift tuberculosis out of its silo and develop a new way of thinking about and combatting the disease.

He also noted:

“Universal health care provides an ideal umbrella to build cohesion across the global health landscape, on financing, programming and accountability”

Although tuberculosis is a curable disease its effects are compounded by poverty and inequality. The World Health Organisation reports that over 95% of deaths from tuberculosis occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Earlier this year Lancet Global Health revealed poverty reduction is as effective as medicine at reducing cases of tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis kills over 1.6 million each year, and approximately half of all cases are diagnosed incorrectly. In addition, tuberculosis has a significant economic effect, and it is estimated to cost $1 trillion by 2030.

The threat of tuberculosis has grown in recent years as there has been a growth in anti-microbial resistance where the drugs used to fight tuberculosis are ineffective. This strain of tuberculosis is known as multi-drug-resistant Tuberculosis.

Miroslav Lajčák, the President of the General Assembly, also noted that:

“We know we need more research and development for new drugs and treatments; we need more funding; we need universal access to diagnosis and coverage; and we need partnerships and accountability of all stakeholders”

The dialogue with civil society members takes place ahead of a high-level meeting in September on the threat of tuberculosis around the world.


Our AIDF Global Summit will return for its 10th year on 5-6 September in Washington, D.C, USA, the summit will cover key global health issues.

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Image credit: United Nations

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