Stop TB Partnership

Message from the Executive Director

Happy New Year to everyone!

As most of us end the holiday break and return to the usual routine, I want to acknowledge the thousands of people working to make the world TB free - people affected by TB, community and civil society representatives and workers, volunteers, health workers, nurses, laboratory technicians, doctors and public health experts, epidemiologists, economists, pharmacists, researchers, advocates and activists, TB programme managers, civil servants, technical experts and scientists. My message is rather simple: thank you for the hard work and dedication so far and let’s make 2018 the historical year of CHANGE in TB!

This year we will change the trends of the TB epidemic with a relevant increase in cure rates and decrease in the number of missing people with TB. We will change the way we fight TB through:

It is possible and we must use the opportunities we have ahead to deliver, as we might not have the same chances again in the foreseeable future. I have many reasons to believe it is possible to deliver and here are a few of them - accept my apologies for not mentioning so many others:

  • Unprecedented efforts and scale of TB country programmes - "India, incredible India" is leading globally due to a visionary and daring Prime Minister asking his government and experts for a funded plan to end TB by 2025. In 2017, bold efforts implemented by the Indian TB programme included conducting campaigns for active case finding at scale, the roll out new tools, engaging with the private sector and culminating during the last days of last year with the approval of the Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) of INR 500 per month (~ USD 8) for each TB patient for nutritional support and a direct letter from PM Modi to each Chief Minister asking them to prioritize TB in their work for 2018. These actions taken are reasons for tremendous hope. As we all know, the achievements of Indian TB programme will be translated in tens of thousands of lives saved and a significant impact on the global figures.

    The South African TB programme continues their great vision, leadership and the accelerated rhythm of rolling out of new drugs, regimens and innovative ways of delivering services to reach everyone, even those belonging to key and vulnerable populations who have TB, thus challenging the rest of the world to keep up the pace.

    Pakistan shows great achievements and potential through the continued efforts led by the national TB programme and by the private sector, especially Indus Hospital/IRD. In addition to the TB interventions implemented at scale, the government announced a domestic investment of 35 million USD for the Punjab TB programme towards the end of 2017. The Indus Hospital /IRD and their teams are driving efforts at a huge scale for early TB case finding and contacts screening towards a Zero TB Karachi and Peshawar. The gathering of 10,000 school girls as a part of the Kiran Sitara programme in December to support the Zero TB effort instilled so much hope.

    I know that similar hard work is taking place in so many other places, I wish we had space to mention them all: Indonesia, Philippines, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Georgia etc. We will make sure to highlight everyone along with details of and their great work very soon.

  • Innovations in service delivery and the great opportunity provided by the new wave of TB REACH funding represents - with more than 570 proposals submitted for a total funding request of over USD 240 million. Hopefully, the proposals to be funded will showcase new and different cost efficient manners for case finding, diagnosis and treatment, treatment adherence, links with technology, roll out of new tools and working with private sector. Innovations in partnership - for the first time ever the Global Fund, Stop TB Partnership and WHO are working together with partners in supporting country programmes to reach a very specific numeric target of finding additional 1.5 million people with TB by 2020. Daring but feasible.
  • Communities, civil society and people affected by TB are becoming better organized, much more vocal, united and demanding globally. There are now networks of people affected by TB and advocates at every regional level and in most high burden countries - united together they represent the essential force to drive all our work. I am grateful for the support of all donors but especially of Global Fund and USAID in supporting efforts, many through Stop TB Partnership to create a solid base of community and civil society organizations, especially those working at grass roots and country level. They have been equipped with new tools and technologies, including digital social accountability platforms. People know their rights better and the national programmes are moving towards gender transformative TB interventions.
  • The 2018 chain of events - Davos, the African Union meeting, the Global Vaccine Forum in India, the Stop TB Partnership Board, High Level Indian and global events on TB in March in New Delhi together with the World TB day celebration will ensure a very strong first quarter of 2018. The World Health Assembly, IAS 2018 - including a TB /IAS 2018 in Amsterdam and BRICS meetings will ensure that TB remains high on the agenda during these months and keeps the momentum going for the September UN High Level Meeting (UNHLM) on TB. In September 2018, during the UNGA week, we will come together like never before for the historical UNHLM on TB – ensuring that we have heads of states and governments endorsing together a strong Political Declaration and a UN based accountability framework towards ending TB. We will continue in the same rhythm towards the Union meeting in the Hague, the G20 meeting in Argentina and the second 2018 Board of Stop TB Partnership.

There are many more opportunities taking place in 2018, and each and every moment should be used to highlight our work as well as the fact that investing to end TB will have a great impact on lives and economies, on AMR, ensuring UHC and reaching SDGs. We raised the TB dialogue and work to unprecedented levels!

There will be critics, there will be challenges, there will be difficulties - let’s stay united, let’s work hard and let’s keep our vision for a TB free world in mind - and we will be unstoppable!

Dr Lucica Ditiu
Executive Director
Stop TB Partnership