11 September Geneva, Switzerland. As the world prepares for the upcoming United Nations High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis (UNHLM on TB) on 22 September, TB affected community and civil society are rallying for heightened ambition and accountability and the adoption of concrete measures to end TB.
In recent weeks, Stop TB Partnership Challenge Facility for Civil Society and other Stop TB grantees and partners have mobilized national stakeholders for strategic dialogues to elevate ambition ahead of the TB HLM and to disseminate the accountability report of TB affected communities and civil society “Priorities to Close the Deadly Divide”.
In an impressive and unprecedented effort, grantees in India, Indonesia, Nepal, Cambodia, Philippines, Pakistan, Peru, Brazil, Ghana, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi, Nigeria, Ukraine, Cameroon, DR Congo, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Botswana and Benin have each advanced TB HLM priorities through national discussions. The key priorities include:
- Advocating for the highest level of political representation from the country to participate in the TB HLM.
- Ensuring the country registers to make an intervention at the TB HLM.
- Promoting the development of a pledge to demonstrate new or renewed ambition to end TB and to deliver this pledge at the TB HLM.
- Requesting the inclusion of TB affected community and civil society representatives on the country delegation.
- Elevating community priorities articulated in the Deadly Divide report Calls to Action, including on TB communities, rights and gender and highlighting the importance of recognizing these during the country intervention at the TB HLM.
- Planning to adopt the Political Declaration by developing national level targets.
Community and civil society partners utilized this national forum and the audience of diverse health and TB stakeholders to also disseminate the Accountability Report of TB Civil Society and Affected Communities: Priorities to Close the Deadly Divide and its accompanying advocacy toolkit. Country partners utilized the toolkit both to advance accountability efforts but also to generate engagement for the upcoming UNHLM on TB.
Austin Obiefuna, Executive Director of African Coalition on TB, Vice Chair of the Stop TB Partnership Board emphasized “Nobody is better placed than affected communities and civil society ensure meaningful accountability. Deadly Divide is not just another report; it is a reflection of the lived experiences of millions of people affected by TB, and a collective demand for all stakeholders to urgently upscale their efforts to end TB.”
The 20 Country level dialogues supplemented regional level convenings ensuring coordination and engagement for the upcoming UNHLM on TB at global, regional and national level. These were hosted by ACT in Anglophone Africa, DRAF TB in Francophone Africa, ACT Asia Pacific and APCASO in Asia-Pacific, Socios En Salud and Americas TB Coalition in the Americas, and PAS Center, TBEC and TBpeople in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
For those wanting to further engage in the High Level Meeting planning and Deadly Divide report dissemination, ACTION Partnership, RESULTS, GHA, We are TB and partners have a webinar scheduled for 12 September 2023, 10-11am EDT, and you can register here to join that event.