TB Advocates Push Forward

TB advocacy has been quite closely linked to HIV advocacy and many advocates have a foot in both worlds. While that has been helpful, and maybe even encouraged, it is clear at this 2012 Union World Conference on Lung Health that TB advocates are focused on a distinct voice for TB. The TB Advocacy Corner within the exhibition space in the Kuala Convention Center is constant with energy and conversations about what is going on to link TB advocates within countries and across the world.

On Thursday morning, Carol Nyirenda from the Africa Coalition for TB (ACT) spoke to the attention crowd about the network. ACT started as a project of PATH and since has grown into a network to help with capacity building within countries and serve as a link between other networks like those in Europe and the US. Carol serves as the first civil society member on the Union board and they are looking for more advocacy groups to get involved. Thanks in part to Carol and the recognition of the importance of coordinated advocacy efforts, next year the Union World Conference will have a full track dedicated to advocacy.

While ACT has had numerous successes with their coordinating efforts, they have also identified areas for growth including linking with communities of faith locally, advocacy training, and fundraising capacity building.

There is a lot of work ahead and it won’t be easy but one way to make impact quickly is to learn from other advocacy movements.

MSH’s Advocacy Extends to TB

This week experts from around the world have gathered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for the annual Union World Conference on Lung Health. For more than ten years, MSH technical staff working in Asia, Africa, and Latin America have presented and attended this meeting.

This year is special for me: I am attending the Union World meeting for the first time. MSH is extending its US and international advocacy for global health to more funding and attention for TB care and treatment. I am happy to represent the organization at the meeting in my role as the Director of Policy and Advocacy.

From the first-ever march by civil society groups for more funds for TB, to the opening plenary on Wednesday night with Prof Lee Reichman, author of Timebomb: The Global Epidemic of Multidrug-Resistant TB — a book on the world’s focus or lack of focus on TB — it is clear that TB implementers and advocates alike are ready to put a spotlight on TB.