Yesterday, a historic event took place in New York: the first United Nations High Level Meeting on tuberculosis. A meeting that demonstrates the relevance and relevance of an epidemic that has become the most lethal infectious disease on the planet (even above HIV / AIDS), leaving close to 1.6 million deaths and 10 million people affected in the last year .
Although the holding of this meeting is a great step forward and sends a very powerful message, the reality is that progress towards eradicating this pandemic is still too slow and requires a great number of changes (both in prevention, diagnosis and treatment, financing , policies, human rights, etc.) that change the trend and the impact of tuberculosis.
Therefore, members of civil society and communities affected by tuberculosis have drafted a position to urge our governments to go beyond the Political Declaration resulting from yesterday’s meeting. A Political Declaration that, while we celebrate, excludes a large number of recommendations made by experts and affected communities that must be taken into account.
The recommendations go through new strategies in diagnosis and prevention, or in the revision and alignment of the National TB Plans, in order to close the gaps still existing and reach all the people who need it: it is estimated that, year after During the last seven years, more than a third of people with tuberculosis do not know their diagnosis.
Our document proposes a response focused on people and their rights, going beyond the mere elimination of discriminatory laws and promoting new laws, policies and practices to respect and facilitate access to health for the most affected people and stigmatized by the epidemic, with special attention to key populations, including those mentioned in the Declaration (people living with HIV, prisoners, injecting drug users, among others) and those forgotten in it (sex workers, undocumented immigrants, people homeless, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people).
We also propose to accelerate the R & D of essential tools to end tuberculosis: among others, for example, vaccines and effective, effective and affordable treatments that are available before 2030. Incomprehensibly, most of the current treatments have more than 50 years, including those destined to treat the most resistant strains of the disease, that suppose a great number of vaccines and an enormous intake of pills (around 15,000 during two years) causing terrible side effects and that scarcely cure at 50 % of those affected
For these strains, precisely, they are the only two oral treatments that have been developed in the last decade: bedaquiline and / or delamanid. Despite their promising results compared to traditional regimens, they remain inaccessible for 90% of the people who need them (even after the WHO recommendation in 2018 prioritizing the use of oral medications, including bedaquiline). The high price of these drugs is one of the fundamental reasons for the lack of access. Therefore, among the recommendations we reiterate that countries should make use of the safeguards of Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), such as, for example, compulsory licenses that allow the production of generic products. at lower prices than the drugs under patent.
Our recommendations also review and stipulate the appropriate figures to achieve the appropriate investment in the fight and research against the pandemic. Thus, it is still necessary to double the investments to be in line with the estimates of the Global Plan to End TB and reach an average of 13 billion dollars per year (about 65 billion between 2018 and 2022).
The commitment of all governments to finance the fight against the pandemic is very important through organizations such as the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, to which the Government of Spain does not contribute a single euro since 2011, despite the unanimous parliamentary agreements reached in 2016 that urge you to return.
Finally, there is a lack of commitment and decisive leadership, with review bodies and independent monitoring tools to ensure the implementation of the recommended actions, in order to walk safely towards the end of this disease in 2030.
For our part, the communities most affected by tuberculosis and civil society organizations and other interested parties, we commit to work with our Governments, representatives and National TB Programs, to ensure compliance with the objectives described in the document.
Read the full document:Â https://saludporderecho.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/CS-STATEMENT.pdf