PRETORIA, 27 September 2018 – The South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) commends the bold political leadership demonstrated by global leaders at the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Ending TB, that took place in New York, United States of America on 26 September 2018.
Heads of State and Government, ministers, TB survivors, representatives of civil society, international organizations, the private sector, scientists and researchers gathered at the High-Level Meeting to agree on a political declaration and to set the world on course to end the TB epidemic.
TB is the world’s leading cause of death from a single infectious agent – it kills more people than HIV, despite the fact that it’s curable, according to the World Health Organisation’s 2018 Global TB report. Although the report notes a 21% decrease in new TB cases between 2016 and 2017, TB still killed 1.6 million people last year. About 30 000 of those deaths occurred in South Africa, which is one of eight countries that account for two thirds of new TB cases globally.
SANAC welcomes the new Political Declaration on Ending Tuberculosis (TB) that has been adopted by Member States and will work closely with the South African government to ensure that it is implemented at a country level, within the framework of the goals of the National Strategic Plan for HIV, TB and STIs (2017-2022).
“The world has an opportunity to end an epidemic that has defined public health for a generation,” said SANAC CEO Dr. Sandile Buthelezi. “We expect to look back at this meeting’s outcome as the moment when world leaders marshalled the political will and resources needed to finally end TB and leave no one behind.”
The High Level Meeting is the most significant political global meeting ever held on TB and was attended by President Cyril Ramaphosa and Health Minister Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, who is Chair of the Stop TB Partnership. This is a clear indication that political leadership has joined our national efforts to end TB.
Earlier this month, Minister of Health Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete and National Council of Provinces Chairperson Thandi Modise, launched the South Africa Chapter of the Global Tuberculosis (TB) Caucus of Parliamentarians on 4 September 2018. The SA TB Caucus will raise awareness of the TB epidemic and support efforts to accelerate the elimination of TB by 2030. Its membership is open to any parliamentarians and legislators in the country. The Global TB Caucus consists of over 2300 parliamentarians from 130 countries across the world.
“Goal 6 of our country’s National Strategic Plan emphasizes the need for accountable leadership in order to reach our HIV and TB targets. We at SANAC commit our leaders in all spheres to be champions of the TB agenda and will work closely with the South African TB Caucus to amplify efforts to end TB by 2030,” said SANAC CEO Dr. Sandile Buthelezi.
However action to meet the rhetoric is now needed and SANAC calls on the South African government and other leaders in the country to close the gaps in TB testing, treatment and prevention.
For more information, please contact: Kanya Ndaki SANAC Communications Manager 083 298 6100 / firstname.lastname@example.org