Dr J.W. Lee

Here we stand, together, some 200 strong—having just taken the next steps in accelerating action to address the global TB epidemic. We are well underway on our journey to realize the goals endorsed 18 months ago in Amsterdam and to make progress towards the 2005 targets of 70% TB detection and 85% cure.

The results of this meeting—that is, the endorsement of the Stop TB Partnership Frame-work, the Global Plan to Stop TB and the Washington Commitment—will also move us closer to our long-term, vision of a world free of TB as a public health problem. Step by step, we are making of this vision a reality.

Visions require nuts-and-bolts actions and consistent follow-through. That is what we have been doing.

Globally, we have heard and seen video presentations that highlight progress in formulating the Global DOTS Expansion and in creating a Global Drug Facility to make it possible. We learned that countries are already receiving their drugs—drugs that will make a life-saving difference. At a meeting this morning with the Stop TB Coordinating Board, Dr Brundtland signed a Memorandum of Understanding between WHO and the Global Partnership to Stop TB, which describes the roles of the different partners involved in the Global Drug Facility.

Nationally, from South Africa to Russia to the Philippines, we have heard and discussed presentations profiling specific challenges and obstacles, and showing ways to overcome them.

I was at the press conference held earlier today with George Soros, Dr Brundtland and Jo Ritzen. To judge from the media turnout—even despite bio-terrorism events unfolding in our midst—the world also has its eye on us. And you may read it in the papers tomorrow. The world will know that we have a Global Plan and that we are making progress against TB. Also, despite these events, your presence here demonstrates your firm commitment to addressing TB as a major threat to public health.

Making the Global Plan a reality will now require money. We know how much: US$ 4.5 billion over the period 2001-2005 to cover the resource gap of the total requirement of US$ 9.3 billion. This is not an enormous amount in terms of global health, not even US$ 1 billion a year’. It is insignificant in the face of the US$ 12 billion economic toll borne by poor TB-afflicted countries every year.

The endorsement of the Global Plan moved it well beyond the health sector. Mr Soros was generous in his praise of the Global Plan as a ‘detailed, concise and comprehensive master plan. Thank you, Mr Soros, for that.

The endorsements you have made in the last two days set out the next steps even more clearly than before. You have acknowledged the need for accountability, requiring an annual assessment of progress made.

Today we can leave the World Bank and go back to our work places, our countries, confident in the knowledge that we have made another major step in the right direction: towards the realization of a TB-free world.

Thanks to all of those who have participated and presented and thanks to the Bank for hosting.