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While Lesotho prepares for Tuberculosis (TB) Day commemoration aimed at accelerating efforts to curb the virus, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is preparing for the first-ever high-level meeting on the fight against TB.

According to a press statement from WHO, the Organisation has been requested to work with the UN Secretary-General, in consultation with Member States, to conceptualise and plan the 2018 high-level meeting while it also states that the WHO Global Ministerial Conference on the fight against TB in the context of public health Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) will be hosted by the Russian Federation in Moscow on 16-17 November 2017.

The Director of the WHO Global TB Programme Dr Mario Raviglione says this is a tremendous and unprecedented step forward by governments and all partners engaged in the fight against TB, adding that the Ministerial Conference and the high-level meeting will be fundamental to drive efforts to end the top infectious killer. `

He further states that they are looking forward to working closely with the office of the UN Secretary-General in consultation with Member States to ensure the meeting results bring  in bold and innovative solutions as the engagement of all partners will be crucial for the success of the meetings.

Meanwhile in this year's report, WHO announced that TB was one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide in 2015, thus responsible for more deaths than HIV and malaria. The report highlighted the need for countries to move much faster to prevent, detect, and treat the disease if they are to meet global targets.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Health in Lesotho is coupling HIV and TB prevention to maximise prevention. The goal of the TB programme is to reduce TB mortality, morbidity and disease transmission to a level that it no longer constitutes a public health Problem, while preventing the development of drug resistance. 

According to the Ministry's report, Lesotho has the world’s second highest TB prevalence and TB co-infection is a significant challenge as 75 percent of those with active TB are HIV-positive while the estimated TB mortality rate in HIV co-infected patients was 250 per 100,000 in 2013.

To this effect by virtue of being part of the United Nations (UN) community Lesotho is expected to participate at the UN General Assembly high-level meeting scheduled for 2018.

Source: LENA 22/02/2017

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