Following our blogpost yesterday you may well have been aware that yesterday was World TB Day. Leading media outlets in the UK certainly took note and here we provide a round-up of what some of them have been saying about the growing threat of TB both domestically and globally.
Friday saw some fantastic coverage in the Financial Times with a four-page health supplement entirely dedicated to TB. Articles covered topics ranging from the fight against HIV/TB co-infection, the problems surrounding TB in children and the need for funding for vaccine research.
The lead article states ‘Tuberculosis has failed to capture imaginations in the same way as HIV’ and, as a result, there has been a serious lack of financial commitments in fighting the second biggest infectious killer after AIDS. The article also highlights the vital role played by The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and the urgent need for renewed funding commitments from donors.
The BBC made note of the call from an international group of doctors and scientists for visionary leadership if we are to tackle TB effectively. Reporting on an article in The Lancet, the article highlights the growing problem of drug resistant TB strains largely as a consequence of complacent and neglectful governments worldwide.
It is so important that there is a complete shift in our thinking, particularly at a political level, about TB in order to ensure that we make significant strides in tackling TB and saving millions of lives. Along with this piece featured on the BBC, The Lancet has also published a Series of papers on TB to commemorate World TB Day 2013 that are well worth a read.
There was an informative piece in The Independent warning of the rise in the number of drug-resistant TB cases in the UK. The article notes that if the rise in TB continues at its current rate then by 2015 Britain will have more new cases each year than in the whole of the US. Somewhat encouraging is the fact that a government task force will be set up to tackle the problem. Dr Paul Cosford, director for health protection at Public Health England, has also said “TB will be a major priority for Public Health England”.
Finally, our friends at ACTION have also put together this great blog outlining a selection of stories and events leading up to World TB Day yesterday. To take a look at ‘the drumbeat to World TB Day’ just click here.
Posted in Global Health, News, TB
Tagged Action, Andrew Jack, BBC, DR-TB, Financial Times, Global Fund, Global Fund to Fight AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria, MDR-TB, tb/hiv, The Independent, The Lancet, World TB day, World TB Day 2013
RESULTS UK has recently relaunched a school assemblies’ programme that will encourage young people to learn more about TB.
In partnership with the UK Coalition to Stop TB and the Stop TB partnership, RESULTS UK will raise awareness of TB among young people as a worldwide problem but, importantly, as one that we can end if we act together. While raising awareness, we’ll also encourage young people to use their voice to call for an end to TB in our lifetime, whether this be through getting in touch with their local MP or writing an article for their local or school paper.
The programme we have devised provides materials for schools to run an assembly, including case studies to help students understand the reality of TB and how it is a significant issue for people their age both at home in the UK and abroad. Recognising the increasing importance of citizenship classes, the programme also includes follow up materials for the classroom that teachers can use to further enhance students understanding of TB and related issues and get them more involved in the democratic process. Inspired by Universal Children’s Day on 20th November, we will be arranging visits to Parliament for groups of students to meet their local MP and share what they’ve learnt about TB.
Posted in Global Health, Grassroots Network, News, TB
Tagged Education, MP, RESULTS UK, schools, Stop TB Partnership, TB, Tuberculosis, uk, UK Coalition to Stop TB, World Children's Day, World TB day
As we look back on the activity around World Tuberculosis Day from campaigners, advocates, and researchers there is one element that slipped quietly under the radar. A joint statement co-signed by UK Political Party leaders on International Development restating their commitment to addressing this devastating disease of poverty.
This statement and the list of signatories on a recent Early Day Motion in the Houses of Parliament marking WTBD – a form of petition for MP’s – again highlights that tackling TB is very much a cross party issue in the UK and one that all sides of the political spectrum recognise as important. However, it also highlights how we, as TB advocates, needs to be smarter and shrewder in our messaging.
It is often said that a lack of political will is why tuberculosis continues to indiscriminately kill millions across the world every year, which is true. Globally we have the resources to eradicate the disease, but it continues to thrive. So how do we create the political will? Uncomplicated Messaging is the key.
Alun Michael MP, the MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, has written about TB-HIV co-infection and about his experience with the RESULTS delegation that went to South Africa in February. We are re-posting his blog, the original blog post can be found here.
Reflections on World TB Day
26 Mar 2012
When the world is full of doom and gloom about banks, the economy and cuts in public services, it’s salutary to be reminded just how devastating the scourge of TB is to so many people, even in our 21st Century world. And yet World TB Day this weekend reminded us that it can be different.
Earlier this year a report told us that Polio is close to being totally eradicated, only a few decades after being a frightening reality throughout the world. But while the word ‘tuberculosis’ doesn’t strike fear into the heart of every mother, father and grandparent in the UK in the way it did a couple of generations ago, it affects some 8.8 million people globally and led to 1.45 million deaths in 2010.
When I visited South Africa with a delegation from Results UK I expected to see the health impact of poverty and poor housing in places like the vast shanty town of Khayelitsha in Cape Town – and the evidence is overwhelming, as the twin attack of TB and HIV/Aids. But there were surprises too. Continue reading
Posted in Global Health, TB
Tagged Alun Michael MP, APPG on TB, delegation, HIV, Jonathan Smith, mining, South Africa, TB, TB-HIV coinfection, they go to die, World TB day
This year World TB Day fell on a Saturday at the end of a media heavy week in which we had not only a national budget but also the Queen’s address to parliament to compete with in the UK. World TB Day is an excellent opportunity to disseminate key messages about the need for greater investment of time and resources into the fight against TB globally which is why RESULTS UK was determined to make a splash despite these obstacles.
This year we partnered with the International HIV/AIDS Alliance and the Stop Aids Campaign to prepare a report highlighting the impact of the cancellation of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria’s (GFATM) latest funding round on people on the ground.
We had wide and thorough coverage of the brief and our associated teleconference with a widely distributed Reuters article being picked up on 23rd March 2012 by hundreds of media outlets as diverse as the Epoch Times, FMT News, the Winnipeg Sun, CNBC India, All Africa.com, the Chicago Tribune and the Hartford Courant. The Reuters piece focussed on the potential impact of the funding cuts to the GFATM as well as the specific impact in Africa and particularly Zambia as RESULTS’ partner organisation, the Community Initiative on TB, Aids and Malaria Plus (CITAM+) joined the call in order to highlight the Zambian situation.
In addition to the Reuters piece, Al Jazeera put out a live interview with Aaron Oxley, RESULTS UK Executive Director, BBC World Service Africa Network put out an interview with Michael Gwaba at CITAM+ on his personal experience of living with HIV and suffering from TB. On the day after World TB Day, 25th March 2012, the Observer published three articles of relevance to RESULTS UK’s work to advocate for a GFATM pledging conference at the G20 Summit in Mexico, June 2012.
The first of these articles was a heartfelt personal piece written by Peter Hain MP following his visit to South Africa with RESULTS UK in February 2012. In this piece Peter Hain MP talks of the facilities he saw in South Africa and the need for increased funding through the GFATM for TB in order that other countries can replicate the great gains made by South Africa in recent years. The Observer also featured a piece by Tracy McVeigh on drug resistant TB which again called for an emergency action to replenish the Global Fund at the G20 meeting in Mexico. Thirdly, the Observer editorial again highlighted the need to bring forward a replenishment at the G20 meeting in Mexico.
Today, on the eve of World TB Day, 2012 three UK NGOs are warning that a US$1.7bn reduction in funding to tackle TB over the next five years will affect the treatment of 3.4 million TB patients and could result in reversing the gains that have been made in tackling the disease. They are calling on the UK Government to join other donors and hold an emergency replenishment for the Global Fund at the G20 meeting in Mexico, June 2012.
Since the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria was established it has helped avert 4.1 million deaths from TB alone. However RESULTS UK, International HIV/AIDS Alliance and Stop AIDS Campaign say that it no longer has the resources to continue expanding its work. The Global Fund is currently providing nearly a quarter of all international funding to fight AIDS, over half of the funding against malaria and more than four-fifths of all funding to fight TB.
Aaron Oxley, Executive Director, RESULTS UK said: “Thanks to sustained efforts from the Global Fund, TB cases have been in decline but with the current lack of resources there is scope for severe backsliding on the progress we have made. This is disappointing and worrying news as we have a real chance of seeing an end to TB in our lifetimes.”
TB is a huge killer of people living with HIV. More than 350,000 people living with HIV died because of TB in 2010. Efforts to tackle malaria are equally impacted by the Global Fund funding crisis.
Michael Gwaba, CITAM+
Mr Michael Gwaba, a TB-HIV Patient-Advocate from Zambia who is concerned about the implications of the funding cuts added: “I have seen the Global Fund work – I’m alive thanks to its investments in Zambia. But right now we now risk reversing the gains we have made in the fight against HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria. Millions of people are now on TB treatment, HIV positive mothers are now able to give birth to HIV negative babies and malaria death rates have declined because of the increase in use of tools such as insecticide treated mosquito nets. But without new investment fast, those still waiting for treatment and care won’t be as lucky as I have been”.
The organisations are calling for donor governments to honour theirfunding pledges and commit funds to sustain and scale up the work of the Global Fund, and for national governments to increase their contribution to health budgets.
To read the full report, click here.
In response to the 29th Anniversary of World TB Day, an international day of advocacy and action against tuberculosis, members of RESULTS’ staff and grassroots activists went to Parliament to lobby their constituency MPs. Thokozile Phiri Nkhoma, a TB advocate from Malawi, was also present to speak about the challenges of tackling TB. The aim of the day was to bring the message to our representatives that TB is not a disease of the past and that DfID must integrate the work it is doing on TB with its HIV programmes and create a ‘framework for results’ for TB/HIV.
The day was a real success. Altogether RESULTS activists and staff managed to reach over fifteen MPs who demonstrated a genuine interest in this global issue that remains neglected. In addition, there were many conversations in which RESULTS activists were able to further MP’s understanding of the disease and the fundamental need for a ‘framework for Results’. Most MPs also promised to follow up on the issue.
RESULTS’ team would like to say a big thank you to all the RESULTS grassroots activists who attended the lobby Day and to Thokozile for her contribution to making this day a success. Truly on such actions is political will built.
Posted in Events, Grassroots Network, Monthly Actions, News, TB
Tagged Grassroots, lobby day, news, Parliament, TB, TB-HIV, World TB day
Today, the 24th March, commemorates the day that scientist Robert Koch first discovered the cause of tuberculosis – the Mycobacterium tuberculosis. World TB Day is designed to raise awareness of the burden of TB. TB remains the top cause of death among curable infectious diseases. This preventable and treatable disease continues to cause 9 million cases of TB every year, including 1.7 million deaths. It is the leading killer of people living with HIV and the third leading cause of death among women of reproductive age (15-44 years) in low income countries.
TB also has a massive impact on the economy; particularly on the economies of developing countries. TB causes illness and death among people between the ages of 15-54, the most economically productive years of a person’s life, and is estimated to cost the global economy billions of dollars every year. Continue reading
As many of you most likely already know, World TB Day will be happening this Thursday! In run-up to World TB Day, here are some news items highlighting why TB is such an important issue and why we need further advocacy to mobilise resources to fight TB – the leading cause of death among curable infectious diseases.
Increasing rates of drug resistant TB are undermining inroads made against TB
Last week, the scientific journal The Lancet published an article written by Dr Alimuddin Zumla and Dr Stephen D Lawn on ‘Increasing Drug Resistance Threatens Gains of World TB Programmes; Smoking and Diabetes are also Fuelling the Global TB Epidemic; Even Modern Drugs for Rheumatoid Arthritis Trigger TB’. The authors say:
“Increasing rates of drug resistant TB in eastern Europe, Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa now threaten to undermine the gains made by worldwide tuberculosis control programmes.”
Drug resistant TB is on the rise and is a threat to everyone. Drug resistance can Continue reading
Posted in Child Survival, Global Health, News, TB
Tagged Alimuddin Zumla, Childhood TB, drug-resistant TB, Drugs, ECDC, Maternal health, MDR-TB, new medicines, Stephen Lawn, TB, The Lancet, UN, WHO, World TB day
On Tuesday we held our March Conference Call entitled: “World TB Day: still neglected, still killing”. March the 24th 2011 marks the 29th anniversary of World TB Day. TB is a preventable and curable disease, yet it kills 1.7 million people every year. While progress has been made towards fighting TB, many challenges remain, the greatest of which is the lack of prioritisation of this global health threat from governments in the developing and developed world. If we do not address the issue now, 20 million people will die from TB in the next decade.
Our guest speaker on the call was Joel Spicer, senior strategist at the Stop TB partnership, a coalition of donors, governments and NGOs working to end TB, which is hosted in the World Health Organisation (WHO). If you were unable to join us on the call, you can now listen to the recording here. Continue reading
Posted in Global Health, Grassroots Network, Monthly Actions, TB
Tagged Global Health, Global Plan to Stop TB, HIV, Joel Spicer, Stop TB Partnership, TB, TB-HIV coinfection, Tuberculosis, World TB day