May 19, 2016 – A groundbreaking report released today by the independent Review of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in the U.K. presents a window of opportunity to transform the fight against TB, the world’s deadliest infectious disease.
The report “Tackling Drug-Resistant Infections Globally: Final Report and Recommendations” offers ten recommendations for combatting drug-resistance around the world, including the development of a new fund to re-invigorate funding for early stage research to develop tools, such as vaccines and drugs, to combat drug-resistance.
“These recommendations show us a path to curbing the MDR-TB epidemic before it's too late,” said Hannah Bowen, Director of the ACTION Secretariat, a global partnership of advocacy organizations spanning five continents. “Now it’s time to follow that path and deliver with real policy and new resources. We have collectively failed to tackle this growing problem, and we cannot afford to wait any longer.”
The AMR review recommendations follow last week’s announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO) of a new regimen to treat MDR-TB that is shorter and less expensive, an important step forward. But without further action, the AMR Review team has estimated that MDR-TB could account for one quarter of the lives lost from drug-resistant infections by 2050, causing up to 75 million premature deaths.
“This report is a great first step in renewing efforts to end TB, one that is finally equal to the enormity of the burden the world faces,” said Aaron Oxley, executive director of RESULTS UK, a UK-based NGO that advocates for greater investment in the TB epidemic. “It presents world leaders with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to forge a genuinely global coalition and finally lay the foundations for the elimination of this disease.”
As we work to develop new tools to combat MDR-TB, we also have more work to do to ensure the tools we already have reach them who need them.
“In just a few months, leaders from around the world will pledge new resources to end the world’s deadliest epidemics, including TB,” said Allan Ragi, Executive Director of KANCO, the Kenya AIDS NGO Consortium. The AMR Review recommendations come just a week after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Canada would host a Global Fund replenishment conference in September.
“This report underscores the need for an ambitious Global Fund replenishment,” said Ragi. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is a critical partner in combatting the deadly disease, providing 77 percent of external financing for TB programs.
Combatting MDR-TB requires more than donor funding. Increased political will, improved policies and new domestic investments are need to fight the scourge of drug-resistance. “All stakeholders, including governments, civil society, and the private sector have a role to play,” said Ms. Bowen. “It’s up to all of us to ensure the recommendations put forth in today’s report drive us towards the end of this epidemic.”
ACTION is a partnership of 12 locally-rooted organizations around the world that advocate together to build political will and increase investments for global health. Our partners: Æquitas (India) l CITAM+ (Zambia) l Global Health Advocates France l Global Health Advocates India l Kenya AIDS NGOs Consortium l Princess of Africa Foundation (South Africa) l RESULTS Australia l RESULTS Canada l RESULTS Japan l RESULTS Educational Fund (US) l RESULTS UK l WACI Health
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