ISLAMABAD, Sep 23 (APP): Federal Secretary Health, Iftikhar Ali Shallwani expressed the need for intensified efforts backed by increased funding to mitigate and reverse the negative impacts of the pandemic on Tuberculosis (TB).
He was addressing the high-level meeting on the fight against tuberculosis at the United Nations Headquarters.
The Secretary, the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination expressed deep concern over the continued challenges being faced by the current health systems, despite numerous scientific advancements.
He highlighted the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on access to TB diagnosis and treatment and the burden of TB disease.
He shared Pakistan’s progress in establishing more TB diagnostic centres and also expanding Lab network to diagnose TB cases, especially MDR-TB.
He mentioned being one of the largest TB burden countries Pakistan needs certain innovative approaches through private sector and CSO involvement for TB response sustainability and affordability.
He emphasized that the need for action has become even more pressing in the context of ongoing conflicts, global energy crisis and associated impacts on food security, which are likely to further worsen some of the broader determinants of TB.
He highlighted that tuberculosis remains Pakistan’s top cause of death from infectious diseases and that Pakistan has the fifth highest TB burden globally.
He underscored Pakistan’s commitment to the objectives set forth in the 2018 Political Declaration on Tuberculosis by pointing out Pakistan’s achievements in the field of TB prevention, diagnostic, treatment, and care services.
He expressed support for the goals and targets set out in the Political Declaration adopted in today’s meeting.
He called upon the global community to expedite the development, widespread deployment, and accessible availability of an effective TB vaccine by the year 2025.
He urged the member states to provide sustainable funding, quality, and equitable access to the latest preventive and treatment facilities, invest in TB research and innovation, and develop safe, effective, and accessible vaccines, particularly for drug-resistant TB, with equitable distribution of vaccines.
The High-Level Meeting also had an opening segment containing the remarks of Dennis Francis, President of the 78th session of the General Assembly, Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations, Ms. Paula Narváez, President of the Economic and Social Council, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization, and other high-level dignitaries.