Representatives from some of the largest multilateral organisations came together during a lunchtime panel session, to talk openly about how they can work more closely together to combat tuberculosis (TB).
Dr Tereza Kasaeva, Director of World Health Organization Global TB Programme, led the way by saying: “We should move forward without delay and time for action” through a coordinated, multi-sectoral approach to stop 10 million people a year falling ill from TB.
Dr Kasaeva highlighted the urgent need for action, by adding: “Patients can’t wait until 2030 to end TB.”
Tim Martineau, Acting Deputy Executive Director, Programme Branch and Director, Fast-Track Implementation of UNAIDS, reinforced this with the statistic that: “Only 41 percent of people with HIV-TB receive antiretroviral and TB therapy simultaneously.”
He says this and other voids in TB treatment emphasise that ending the epidemics of TB and HIV require not just a medical response, but a comprehensive response to address the social determinants of health.
Tim also gave thanks to The Union for the focus of the conference being Declaring Our Rights: Social and Political Solutions.
Dr Anne Detjen, Health Specialist, iCCM/IMCI, Childhood TB of UNICEF, was very supportive of a coordinated approach. She called the TB community to bring UNICEF on board as soon as possible to give prominence to child healthcare needs.
Dr Dominik Zenner, Regional Thematic Specialist (Health) of International Organization for Migration, flagged the importance of including migrants in any collaborative working. As there is no elimination of TB and no universal health coverage, without including migrants.
It was agreed by all of the representatives that it would be great to work together and was suggested that they should start with the top ten TB burden countries.