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.