Member countries of WHO South-East Asia Region (SEAR), on March 14 in New Delhi, committed to further intensify efforts to ensure rapid and concrete progress to end tuberculosis (TB) by 2030.

In a statement adopted at the Delhi End TB Summit 2018, member countries agreed to actualising and intensifying essential actions agreed to in the Delhi Call to Action which was adopted in March last year to accelerate efforts to end TB in the region.

Prime minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the weeklong summit on March 13.

According to a press release from WHO SEAR Office, the countries committed to multisectoral and empowered national initiatives, reporting to the highest levels of government, to lead the TB programme.

The member countries also committed to increasing budgetary and human resource allocations by governments as well as by their global, domestic and other partners to ensure that national TB plans are fully funded.

The region is host to one-fourth of the global population but a disproportionate 46 percent of the global TB burden, states the press release.

WHO director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said progress against TB in the region would have a major impact on the progress globally. “Too much is at stake, we cannot afford to fail. We must remember that the war against TB will be won in communities. It will be won by nurses, doctors, community health workers and others at the frontlines. We must give them the resources they need to find every last person with TB, to diagnose them, to treat them, and to cure them.”

Regional Director for WHO SEAR, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh said, “It gives shape to our momentum and aspirations, and does so by setting out a series of strategic priorities which include establishing strong leadership of TB programmes at the national level; increasing budgetary and human resource allocations to TB programmes from domestic and global sources; enabling each and every TB patient to access the best possible care available; and supplementing medical care for TB with social and financial protection.”

Staff reporter