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UNGA 73rd session unites to accelerate efforts on Ending TB

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The world leaders meet at the United Nations head office in Washington, USA for the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 73) this September 2018. The first day of the high-level General Debate will be Tuesday, 25 September 2018, and is scheduled to last for nine working days.

The theme of the general debate is, ‘Making the United Nations Relevant to All People: Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Peaceful, Equitable and Sustainable Societies.’

Among other crucial deliberations is the unique session focusing on fighting TB. Heads of State will gather in New York on 26 September this year at the United Nations General Assembly first-ever high-level meeting on tuberculosis (TB) to accelerate efforts in ending TB and reach all affected people with prevention and care. The high-level meeting was as a result of a need to place more focus on TB by UNGA Member States. The theme for the TB event is: "United to end tuberculosis: an urgent global response to a global epidemic".

The high-level meeting on TB is an important step forward by governments and all partners engaged in the fight against TB. It follows a very successful Ministerial Conference on Ending TB in Moscow on 16-17 November, 2017 which resulted in high-level commitments from Ministers and other leaders from 120 countries to accelerate progress to end TB.

Humana People to People notes that Tuberculosis mostly affects adults in their productive years. However, all age groups are at risk with children and women mostly at the receiving end of TB either through infection or as being affected as an aftermath. The harsh reality is that to a large extent the TB cases and deaths are in developing countries.

TB occurs in every part of the world. According to the 2017 Global Report on TB, the largest number of new TB cases occurred in the South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions, with 62% of new cases, followed by the African region, with 25% of new cases. The World Health Organization points out that in 2017, 87% of new TB cases occurred in the 30 high TB burden countries. Eight countries accounted for two thirds of the new TB cases: India, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh and South Africa.

Against such a backdrop, Humana People to People implements community based TB programmes fighting the spread of infection and promoting adoption of preventive measures to save lives. Humana People to People has over the years built a wealth of experience in fighting HIV and AIDS and such capacity has recently been adapted into designing the Total Control of TB programme which focus on intervening in addressing TB challenges in Southern Africa, India and China.

The Total Control of Tuberculosis (TC-TB) programme reduces the spread of TB and related deaths by increasing TB early diagnosis and treatment. The approach gives emphasis to door-to-door campaigning, voluntary testing and personal counseling. It relies on the close cooperation between the TC-TB Field Officers and local health centers as well as the active participation of local volunteers. HIV and TB form a lethal combination, each speeding the other's progress. Humana People to People thus approach HIV and TB by integrating HIV activities within the TC-TB programme, including actions for prevention and treatment of infection to reduce deaths.  

Humana People to People foresee the high-level meeting resulting in an ambitious Political Declaration on TB endorsed by Heads of State that will strengthen action and investments for the end-TB response, saving millions of lives.

Besides the TB High-Level Meeting there are other interesting meetings scheduled to occur; below are some unique ones:

On Monday, 24 September, the UNGA will hold a high-level plenary meeting on global peace in honor of the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela, known as the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit. The plenary will adopt a political declaration negotiated by Member States.

On Thursday, 27 September, the UN will hold a one-day comprehensive review of the progress achieved in the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which will be the third high-level meeting of the UNGA on the issue.

A number of events will take place in parallel to the opening of the 73rd session of the UNGA under the banners of Global Goals Week 2018 and Climate Week NYC 2018.