Professor Peng Liyuan calls for fight to end tuberculosis at UNGA

The 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) High-Level Meeting on the Fight to End Tuberculosis was held in New York on September 26. Professor Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping and World Health Organization (WHO) goodwill ambassador for tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/AIDS, was invited to deliver a video message at the opening ceremony due to her status as an outstanding representative in the fight against TB.

Over the years, Peng has relentlessly engaged in promoting TB prevention and treatment worldwide, especially since she was appointed WHO goodwill ambassador for tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS in 2011.

According to Peng, China has made remarkable progress in TB prevention and treatment thanks to the effort by the Chinese government and around 700,000 volunteers.

In China, the epidemic has seen declining incidence and fatality over the past years, despite relatively high prevalence, with students and migrant workers part of the susceptible population.

Last year, the TB incidence rate and mortality rate among Chinese stood at 60.5 and 2.3 per 100,000 people respectively, according to the National Health Commission. The incidence rate fell by over 14 percent from 2012, at an annual drop of 3 percent. This is faster than the global average.

The progress can be attributed to China’s heavy investment in tackling the contagious disease. Authorities from the country’s health commission’s disease control division stated that government funding increased to 640 million yuan in 2017 from 260 million yuan in 2004 — almost threefold.