25 March 2004
New Delhi Forum Opportunity to Strengthen Worlds Commitment to Reversing Global TB Incidence, Says Secretary-General
NEW YORK, 24 March (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of Secretary-General Kofi Annans video message to the second Stop TB Partners Forum in New Delhi, 24 March:
You have gathered at a key moment in our struggle against a disease that is completely curable. A disease that kills more than 2 million people every year -- almost all of them in the developing world.
In our fight against TB, we have a powerful weapon. The DOTS strategy for controlling TB is not only highly effective. It is also one of the most cost-effective public-health interventions in the world. Today, DOTS covers nearly 70 per cent of the worlds population.
In each year of the past decade, more people have been cured under DOTS than the year before. And, thanks in part to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, our resources are increasing as well.
But much more must be done if we are to turn the tide against the TB epidemic. We must spare no effort in our work to meet the targets for 2005.
That means that by next year, we must identify 70 per cent of all infectious cases, and treat successfully 85 per cent of those we identify. It also means we must invest in new diagnostics and drugs to improve DOTS, and in a new vaccine so that eventually we can eliminate TB as a public-health threat altogether.
These are all essential steps if we are to reach the Millennium Development Goal of halting, and beginning to reverse, the global incidence of TB by 2015.
This Forum of the Stop TB Partnership is a great opportunity to strengthen the worlds commitment to that goal -- and to take action that can save millions of lives. I hope I can count on every one of you to seize that opportunity.
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