The United Nations (UN) has said only half of the 1.6 million people who die of tuberculosis every year get proper medical diagnosis.

While speaking at an interactive dialogue with civil society groups, the Secretary-General, António Guterres, said TB would cost Nigeria about $1trillion in economic loss by 20130.

“TB kills more than 1.6 million people every year and only about half the cases are diagnosed properly,” Guterres said.

“The disease also takes an enormous financial toll on economies: it is estimated that TB will cost about  $1trillion by 2030. 

“Winning the fight against Tuberculosis requires that ‘social drivers’ of the disease especially poverty and inequality are tackled head on. Universal healthcare provides an ideal umbrella to build cohesion across the global health landscape, on financing, programming and accountability."

Reporting the dialogue, NAN also quoted the President of the General Assembly, Miroslav Lajčák, who convened the meeting, as saying knowledge of the disease and factors that complicate treatment have grown, but the world “cannot stop at just knowing".

“We know we need more research and development for new drugs and treatments; we need more funding; we need universal access to diagnosis and coverage; and we need partnerships and accountability of all stakeholders,” he said.

The civil society dialogue is part of the preparatory process for a high-level meeting on tuberculosis, to be held in September.

It comes a day before UN member states start negotiations on the outcome document for the high-level meeting.

Lajčák said the meeting would exchange experiences and learn lessons to contribute to a joint vision of how to ‘End Tuberculosis by 2030’.

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