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Statement by Italy’s Minister of Health Orazio Schillaci at the 78th General Assembly of the United Nations High-level Meeting on the fight against Tuberculosis

Min Schillaci

Excellencies, distinguished colleagues,

According to the WHO, in 2022 tuberculosis was the thirteenth cause of death worldwide and the second leading infectious killer after COVID-19.
Unfortunately, the Pandemic reversed years of progress made in the fight to end TB globally, and in the past three years TB incidence’s rate and the estimated number of deaths from TB increased, reversing the declining trend observed for most of the past two decades.

Today, TB is still present in all countries and age groups even though it is a curable and preventable disease.
Italy is strongly committed to make progress towards the elimination of tuberculosis which is included as an infection disease priority in the National Prevention Plan, with the aim of implementing diagnosis and surveillance through awareness campaigns and training courses aimed, primarily, at social and health care workers, with a focus on high risk population groups.
At a global level, in order to fight TB, Italy has been supporting since its inception the Global Fund, launched during our G7 Presidency and invested over 1.3 billion euro, ranking as the ninth largest public donor in the Fund.
It represents one of the most effective examples of global partnership for development and the most important one dedicated to health.
It is estimated that the Global Fund contributed to save 44 million lives.
The Global Fund partnership is uniquely positioned to support countries to design and implement programs that simultaneously fight diseases such as TB, HIV and malaria, also catalyzing innovative finance initiatives for health in LMICs.
Moreover, during the pandemic, the Fund represented a key player in the multilateral Covid-19 response through the ACT-Accelerator.
Drug-resistant TB is also part of the growing challenge of antimicrobial-resistant superbugs. While Drug-resistant TB now accounts for one-third of the world’s deaths from antimicrobial resistance, only about one in three people with drug resistant TB accessed treatment in 2021.
Looking forward, Italy will continue to work to strengthen health systems, to enhance access to treatments and to encourage prevention. Sufficient, sustainable and predictable funding will be key to reaching these objectives.
Accelerating progress towards the SDG 3 target of ending HIV, TB, and malaria as public health threats remains a critical milestone on the path to UHC and PPR.
Thank you