Excellencies, honourable delegates.
The covid-19 pandemic has put considerable strain on not only health systems around the world, but also on so many other factors that play a role in promoting health and restricting the effect of this terrible disease.
This shows how resilient health systems are necessary to ensure access to health services for everyone, including people affected by tuberculosis. It illustrates how our discussions this week on tuberculosis, universal health coverage and pandemic preparedness are clearly interconnected.
So must our efforts be to address these.
This also means addressing risk factors such as food safety and malnutrition. It means protecting and promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights. And it requires peace.
The response to tuberculosis must be linked to locally led initiatives, be gender-responsive and include marginalized groups.
Recent developments of shorter, more effective, and patient-friendly treatment regimens for adults and children have given us new tools in the global fight against TB.
These must be rolled-out as part of universal health coverage to ensure equitable and affordable access to quality health services, including diagnostics and treatment for all. This includes increased domestic financing for health, including TB efforts.
We also see how challenges such as multidrug and extensively drug resistant TB present new challenges. The UN high level meeting on antimicrobial resistance next year could hardly be more timely.
Chair, let me end by expressing our gratitude to our global partners, including the Global fund, UNITAID, WHO, UNAIDS, as well as the international work of our own association of lung and heart patients.