UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres

The United Nations has said no fewer than 1.6 million people are killed annually by tuberculosis and the disease would cost about one trillion dollars in economic loss by 2050.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who said this at an interactive dialogue with civil society groups on Monday, added that social drivers must be confronted in the fight against tuberculosis.

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He urged greater efforts to provide universal health coverage and combat the growing threat of anti-microbial resistance.

“Despite being curable and treatable, TB kills more than 1.6 million people every year and only about half the cases are diagnosed properly.

“The disease also takes an enormous financial toll on economies: it is estimated that TB will cost about one trillion dollars by 2030,” he said.

“Winning the fight against Tuberculosis requires that ‘social drivers’ of the disease  especially poverty and inequality  are tackled head on.

“Universal health care provides an ideal umbrella to build cohesion across the global health landscape, on financing, programming and accountability.

“Let us use these meetings as an opportunity to inform a new way of thinking and working; lifting TB beyond its traditional silo,” the Secretary-General added.