Health ministers, NGOs, and private sector representatives from 120 countries adopted the Moscow Declaration Friday, committing themselves to eliminating additional deaths from HIV co-infection by 2020 and achieving synergy in coordinated action against TB and non-communicable diseases. A co-infection is when a person suffers from two infections at the same time.
India is among the signatories to the declaration that WHO director-general Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus described in his address as a “milestone in the history of TB”. Health minister J P Nadda participated in several sessions over the last two days and his announcement about India’s decision to move to a daily drug regimen won him applause.
The Moscow declaration emphasised the need for fixing multisectoral responsibility towards ending TB by 2035, the global target. “We recognise the need for a multisectoral accountability framework to end TB, which is both political and technical. This framework is critical to creating an enabling operational environment for multisectoral action, fast-tracking priority interventions, monitoring overall progress, and accelerating advocacy at all levels within different sectors, all of which is necessary to achieve committed milestones and the targets to end the TB epidemic,” read the Moscow Declaration. It said that multi-drug resistant TB would be tackled as a national public health crisis.
A national inter-ministerial commission will be set up by 2018 to achieve “fast-tracking universal access to health care through all state and non-state care providers by adopting WHO-recommended TB diagnostics, drugs, technologies and standards of care, and ensuring attention to high-risk groups and vulnerable populations such as migrants, refugees and prisoners.”
In less than a year, the TB report card will be reviewed by the UN General Assembly in 2018 during a high-level meeting.