Tuberculosis

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:06 pm on 7th June 2018.

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Photo of Nick Herbert Nick Herbert Conservative, Arundel and South Downs 3:06 pm, 7th June 2018

This has a been a good debate, with a large degree of consensus across the House and many well-informed contributions from right hon. and hon. Members on both sides, including the Front Benchers. I am grateful for that and for the help that hon. Members are giving to raise the profile of this disease.

I pay tribute to the work of the co-chair of the all-party group on global tuberculosis, Mr Sharma. He was expecting to speak, but was taken away from the House for something else. However, I am sure that he would have wanted to draw attention to the huge progress being made in India, where the Prime Minister, as I mentioned earlier, has shown real leadership by getting India to commit to eliminate TB on a tighter timescale than the one in the sustainable development goals. That has shown the kind of global leadership that will be necessary, and if we can encourage other global leaders to follow that lead, we will make huge progress. I congratulate the Government on what they have been doing. I accept the Minister’s description of all the things that DFID and other Departments are doing, and I note that the International Development and Health Secretaries have personally committed to the issue, for which I am grateful.

TB has been the orphan disease. Despite its terrible record of claiming lives, it does not have the celebrity champions or the pop stars of other diseases, and it does not get the same media attention. Although the disease claims more lives every year than any other infectious disease, I can guarantee that the media will pay no attention whatsoever to this debate. That needs to come to an end. Today, we in this House have at least played our part in raising the profile of the disease, helping to make TB truly a disease of the past.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,

That this House
recognises that tuberculosis (TB) remains the world’s deadliest infectious disease, killing 1.7 million people a year;
notes that at the current rate of progress, the world will not reach the Sustainable Development Goal target of ending TB by 2030 for another 160 years;
believes that without a major change of pace 28 million people will die needlessly before 2030 at a global economic cost of £700 billion;
welcomes the forthcoming UN high-level meeting on TB in New York on 26 September as an unprecedented opportunity to turn the tide against this terrible disease;
further notes that the UN General Assembly Resolution encourages all member states to participate in the high-level meeting at the highest possible level, preferably at the level of heads of state and government;
and calls on the Government to renew its efforts in the global fight against TB, boost research into new drugs, diagnostics and a vaccine, and for the Prime Minister to attend the UN high-level meeting.