Tuberculosis (TB)

Report of the Informal Consultation Meeting of Civil Society Participants of the WHO Global Ministerial Conference on Ending TB with Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO 16 & 17 November 2017: Moscow

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General (DG) of WHO met about 100 civil society participants of the WHO Global Ministerial Conference on Ending TB on November 16, 2017. This meeting was his first engagement of the Ministerial Conference also attended by the Minister of Health of the Russian Federation and WHO Regional Directors for the Americas and European Regions. In his welcoming remarks, Dr Tedros stressed his interest and commitment in establishing a regular mechanism of engagement with civil society and TB advocates to work together to end TB with emphasis on universal health coverage (UHC), primary health quality care and advancing research for better tools. Six civil society representatives selected by participants at the meeting (Alexander Chuykov, Blessina Kumar, Zied Mhirsi, Mandy Slutsker, Khairunisa Suleiman, and Ezio Tavora) met the DG and senior WHO staff the following day to discuss next steps.

Key issues discussed during the meetings include:

  • Ensure calls to action are translated into national commitments and investments so that efforts are exerted to end TB in all regions and countries regardless of size and rate of TB burden;
  • Work together with other stakeholders (i.e. non-communicable, HIV and UHC) to synergise advocacy and activism efforts that ensure integrated quality care including linking patients to social support and financial protection schemes;
  • Prioritise community engagement and participation at all levels of policy and programme implementation as well as working together with civil society organizations, frontline community health workers and affected communities to embrace their perspectives and also to help validate the results and impacts of programmes in the field;
  • Ensure WHO policies and guidelines are ambitious and robust enough to match the global TB problem and are also taken up promptly by national governments and implemented and their impact measured;
  • Address the stigma, discrimination and criminalisation of TB and WHO to assist in generating data on these to inform the development and implementation of appropriate measures at global and national levels;
  • Strengthen treatment literacy and prevention to extend to everyone to generate greater popular support and commitment to eliminate TB;
  • Simplify the communication on TB targets (e.g. using absolute numbers rather than percentages) so that progress achieved is clearly visible and regularly monitored including by civil society;
  • Ensure the attendance of Heads of State as well as a TB survivor voice in the opening of the TB UNGA High Level Forum in 2018 as well as work harmoniously to maximally utilise the opportunity to end TB
  • Furthermore, a statement endorsed by 86 civil society representatives ahead of the meeting was presented to the DG asking for his advocacy support with the following four key issues:
    • Global and country level targets to find, test, and provide quality treatment to all people with TB through person-centred care and through the active involvement and engagement of affected communities must include diagnosis and treatment of all forms of TB and co-infections, including latent TB infection, drug-sensitive TB, and drug-resistant TB.
    • Global and country level targets on financing for TB innovation should close the annual global research and development funding gap of $1.3 billion. Governments should commit to increasing funding for TB research through domestic mechanisms at the country level and at the international level through the creation of new, collaborative platforms and mechanisms.
    • Community leadership and engagement, human rights, ethics, and equity should be recognized as key principles towards ending TB. Central to the TB response are the human rights to life, health, scientific progress, non-discrimination, participation, freedom of movement, among others, as articulated in international and regional human rights treaties and domestic constitutions.
    • An independent, impartial, politically-relevant accountability framework reporting to UNGA should be established to track the progress of all countries against the epidemic and identify gaps and challenges.

The civil society representatives expressed their appreciation to the DG for having time to discuss and define next steps and for his openness and commitment to work with civil society. The DG reiterated his willingness and readiness to continue engaging with civil society representatives for the TB HLM 2018 and beyond including advocating for universal health coverage that could eventually benefit TB prevention and care activities. It was agreed to use the existing platform of the WHO Civil Society Task Force of the Global TB Programme which will be reviewed and reconstituted to enable further systematic consultation and engagement of WHO and the DG with the TB civil society on regular basis.

Photo Gallery on the Informal Consultation Meeting of Civil Society Participants of the WHO Global Ministerial Conference on Ending TB with Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WH

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