September 16, 2019
 In 2024-Tuberculosis

Topic: 2024-Tuberculosis
Country: Ecuador
Delegate Name: Michael Nakashima

Ecuador is committed to addressing the global challenge of tuberculosis (TB) within the framework of Sustainable Development Goal 3.3. As a nation, Ecuador recognizes the urgency of collaborative action to combat TB and achieve significant reductions in TB-related morbidity and mortality by 2030. Ecuador acknowledges the importance of equitable access to diagnostics, treatment, and prevention measures, particularly for vulnerable populations. Our nation’s stance is rooted in a commitment to strengthening healthcare systems, promoting community engagement, and addressing social determinants of health to effectively tackle TB.
The increase in TB cases from 2021 to 2022 could be attributed to several factors, including:
COVID-19 Pandemic: The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may have led to delays in TB diagnosis, treatment, and surveillance activities, resulting in underreporting of cases.
Healthcare System Strain: Overburdened healthcare systems, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, may have led to challenges in TB detection and management, exacerbating the spread of the disease.
Social Determinants of Health: Socioeconomic factors such as poverty, overcrowded living conditions, and lack of access to healthcare services contribute to TB transmission and may have played a role in the increase of cases.
To address this increase, Ecuador proposes:
Strengthening Healthcare Systems: Invest in healthcare infrastructure, human resources, and laboratory capacity to improve TB diagnosis, treatment, and surveillance.
Enhancing Community Outreach: Implement community-based TB screening programs, raise awareness about TB symptoms and prevention measures, and promote early healthcare seeking behavior.
Ensuring Continuity of Care: Develop strategies to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on TB services, including telemedicine and decentralized healthcare delivery models.
Reducing Financial Burden of TB Treatment
Half of all tuberculosis patients face catastrophic costs to their households due to medical expenses and lost income. To reduce the financial burden of TB treatment, Ecuador suggests:
Universal Health Coverage: Implement universal health coverage to ensure access to affordable TB diagnostics, medications, and supportive services without imposing financial hardship on patients and their families.
Social Protection Measures: Introduce social protection measures such as cash transfers, food assistance, and income support for TB patients and their families to alleviate the economic burden of treatment.
Public-Private Partnerships: Engage with pharmaceutical companies, international organizations, and civil society to negotiate affordable pricing for TB medications and diagnostics, ensuring their availability to those in need.
Addressing the Increase in Drug-Resistant Cases
The increase in drug-resistant TB cases in the regions of the Americas and South-East Asia may be attributed to several factors, including:
Incomplete Treatment: Inadequate adherence to TB treatment regimens can lead to the development of drug-resistant strains, highlighting the importance of comprehensive and supervised treatment programs.
Diagnostic Challenges: Limited access to accurate and timely diagnostics for drug-resistant TB strains hinders early detection and appropriate management, allowing resistant strains to spread.
Healthcare System Weaknesses: Weak healthcare systems, including inadequate laboratory capacity and human resources, contribute to delays in diagnosis and treatment initiation, facilitating the emergence of drug-resistant TB.
To address this issue, Ecuador proposes:
Enhancing Laboratory Capacity: Strengthen laboratory infrastructure and human resources to facilitate rapid and accurate diagnosis of drug-resistant TB strains, enabling prompt initiation of appropriate treatment.
Promoting Adherence to Treatment: Implement patient-centered treatment approaches, including directly observed therapy (DOT) and comprehensive support services, to improve treatment adherence and reduce the risk of drug resistance.
Investing in Research and Development: Support research and development efforts to develop new TB diagnostics, medications, and vaccines, particularly targeting drug-resistant strains, to advance TB control efforts globally.
Ecuador remains committed to collaborating with the international community to address the global TB epidemic and achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3.3 by 2030. By implementing comprehensive strategies that prioritize equity, innovation, and partnership, we can accelerate progress towards a TB-free world and ensure the health and well-being of all individuals, leaving no one behind.