Stop TB Partnership

Unprecedented Solidarity of Demands from TB Community and Stakeholders at the UN Interactive Civil Society Hearing for UN HLM on TB

The summary from the Interactive Civil Society Hearing is available now.

25 June 2018, Geneva, Switzerland - The United Nations High-Level Meeting (UN HLM) on Tuberculosis (TB) will bring together Heads of State in New York on 26 September 2018. A critical milestone on this path was recently reached with the completion of the Interactive Civil Society Hearing (the Hearing). Subsequently, the Hearing summary capturing the stories, priorities, and expectations of TB survivors, representatives of TB affected communities, civil society organizations, academics, parliamentarians, the private sector and other stakeholders was released. The summary reinforces the unprecedented and unwavering global solidarity, ambition and urgency to end TB and the expectation for a political declaration in September that will enable the end of TB.

The Hearing brought together more than 400 TB stakeholders and Stop TB partners from countries around the world. Called by the Office of the President of the United Nations General Assembly, the Hearing was a timely event preceding the commencement of countries discussions on the critical elements of the UN HLM TB political declaration. The active presence of affected communities and civil society resonated with country missions in New York, with a significant number of Missions joining the two co-facilitators Japan and Antigua and Barbuda in attendance at the Hearing.

Speaking during the opening session of the Hearing, United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres commended the TB community for its dedication and resilience and urged the Heads of State to come forward and take bold steps to end TB by 2030. Mr. Miroslav Lajcák, President of the General Assembly, applauded the efforts of the Stop TB Partnership, World Health Organization (WHO) and thousands of TB activists, community representatives and TB survivors for their extraordinary efforts in making the first ever UN HLM on TB a reality.

Ms. Ingrid Schoeman, the TB survivor from South Africa, shared her account of surviving TB and its subsequent impact on her life. Dr. Eric Goosby, UN Special Envoy on TB; Dr. Ren Minghui, Assistant Director-General, WHO and Dr. Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director, Stop TB Partnership highlighted the plight of the TB community and urged the political leadership, the private sector, and multilateral agencies to join hands and beat TB. Dr. Ditiu reiterated the Key Asks from the TB communities and stakeholders and urged countries to consider these asks in their deliberations around the UN HLM.

The Hearing (Click here for full program comprised four-panel discussions. The panels were led by Dr. Joanne Carter, Executive Director, RESULTS in the US and Deputy Chair Stop TB Partnership Board, Ms. RD Marte, Executive Director, APCASO; Wim Vandevelde, Global Network of People Living with HIV and Allan Maleche, Executive Director, KELIN.

A 6-minute snapshot of the affected TB community and civil society voices, as well as other significant moments at the UN Interactive Civil Society Hearing on TB on June 4 in New York prepared by the Global Coalition of TB Activists, can be viewed here:

Ingrid Schoeman, Dean Lewis, Melquiades Huauqa Ore, Paula Rusu and Blessina Kumar began each Panel representing the voice of TB survivors from around the world. They spoke from their personal experience of what is required to remove barriers, find and treat 40 million people affected by TB by 2022, why research and development in new tools is critical, why the TB response must be adequately financed, why the TB response must be people-centered, human rights-based and gender sensitive and why a multi-sectoral, independent accountability mechanism, guided by the multi-sectoral accountability framework, is critical in effecting the changes the TB community wants to see.

In addition to the Hearing, there were several side events hosted by UNAIDS, Treatment Action Group (TAG) and the Global Coalition of TB Activists (GCTA), with GCTA launching the publication "Women & Stigma": stories exploring stigma faced by people affected by TB. During each of these events, the priorities captured in the Report were reiterated. The unified call for ambitious and urgent responses to end TB were re-asserted during affected community, and civil society led briefings of 29 missions in New York. Coordinated by the Stop TB Partnership supported by HLM Civil Society and Affected Communities Advisory Panel, this was a remarkable effort.

The Hearing concluded by echoing the messaging that had been heard throughout the day. The UN PGA urged member states to adopt a declaration that would be more than just words on paper. The two co-facilitators, Japan and Antigua and Barbuda, pledged to support TB communities and encouraged Heads of State to show their solidarity and support to ending TB by 2030.

The challenge for TB is political because it is about people. Dean Lewis, Co-Chair HLM Affected Communities and Civil Society Advisory Panel, articulated this when he said: "Poverty, homelessness and criminalized behavior made me invisible to health systems in my time of need. We must commit to reaching the populations of people like me. We must commit the money that is needed to do this. And most of all, we must commit ourselves."