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DSG/SM/1453
23 September 2020

Deputy Secretary-General Links Fights against COVID-19, Tuberculosis, Calling for Ambitious Action at Virtual Event

Following is the text of UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s video message to the event “Progress and Multisectoral Action towards Achieving Global Targets to End Tuberculosis”, held today:

Just a few years ago, the end of the tuberculosis epidemic was seen as a distant aspiration.  But, political support at the highest level has brought the goal of ending tuberculosis much closer.  There has been significant progress since the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis in 2018.

Yet, today, the COVID-19 crisis threatens to reverse those gains.  Tuberculosis remains the world’s top infectious killer, claiming millions of lives each year.  We need to urgently step up the response to end the suffering and deaths caused by this preventable and curable disease.

To tackle tuberculosis, we must face the social drivers of the disease.  We must work across sectors and link our efforts to the broader global health agenda, including to achieve universal health coverage and to the sustainable development agenda.  Tuberculosis provides a critical opportunity to build a health infrastructure capable of not only preventing, diagnosing and treating tuberculosis, but of promoting and protecting the broader health and well-being of entire communities.  We have seen this in action during the COVID-19 pandemic, with national tuberculosis programmes and systems leveraging support to the COVID‑19 response.

We are midway towards reaching the 2022 targets outlined in the political declaration of the United Nations High‑Level Meeting.  Inclusive and ambitious partnerships will be critical — across ministries, agencies, civil society and stakeholders from both the public and private sectors.  And leadership will be an absolute imperative.

The United Nations stands firmly behind you as we strive to fulfil our common vision of ending tuberculosis.

For information media. Not an official record.