Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks at the Interactive Civil Society Hearing on Tuberculosis, in New York today:
I thank the President of the General Assembly, together with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Stop TB Partnership, for gathering us here today.
I would also like to thank the leadership of His Excellency, Koro Bessho, Permanent Representative of Japan, and His Excellency Walton Webson, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda, the co-facilitators of the outcomes of the high-level meeting on the fight against tuberculosis.
I commend all your efforts to end tuberculosis, the biggest infectious killer in the world. This will not be easy. Success will require that we work across sectors to address the social drivers of the disease — poverty, inequality and increasing rates of migration.
We must build links across the broader global health agenda, strengthening health systems, ensuring universal health coverage and addressing anti-microbial resistance. The WHO Global Strategy to End Tuberculosis by 2030 provides a road map for progress. Continued political leadership and sustainable financing are critical.
This year’s High-Level Meetings of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuberculosis and Non-Communicable Diseases provide key opportunities. Let us use these meetings as an opportunity to inform a new way of thinking and working, lifting tuberculosis beyond its traditional silo.
Let us also look ahead to the 2019 High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Care.
Universal health care provides an ideal umbrella to build cohesion across the global health landscape on financing, programming and accountability. Let us also work to strengthen existing mechanisms, such as the World Health Assembly, to support the technical reviews that are needed to keep us on track.
The outcome document from the High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis must be concrete and ambitious in its recommendations to ensure global rhetoric is translated to local action in the communities where it matters most.
Today’s hearing provides a key opportunity for you to help shape the discussion. You have a proven track record of breaking down barriers to treatment, supporting community advocacy, sharpening accountability and guiding research and development so it benefits the people who need it.
The conversations you have today will serve as the foundation for high-level commitments from world leaders. Your vision will ensure that the fight against tuberculosis progresses with the most vulnerable people at its centre.
The United Nations stands firmly behind you and is committed to working together to end this disease once and for all. I wish you a productive dialogue, and look forward to seeing you again in September.