23 March 2016 -- Geneva, Switzerland - Today, more than on any other day, we need to stay united and be strong in the face of adversity. We need to stay true to our values as human beings.
We very often forget who we are, where we come from and that we must help those that are a lot less fortunate than we are -- those that are in horrible and difficult situations, often between life and death. As we commemorate World TB Day 2016, and we call for everyone to Unite to End TB, we must be true to ourselves and realize that if we want to really end this disease which is now the biggest infectious disease killer globally, then we must ensure that all those vulnerable and at risk should be at the core of our work.
Migrants, refugees, and internally displaced persons (IDPs) are the people that we chose to highlight today in our efforts to address TB in key populations, an effort that started last year with the first ever global meeting of people affected by TB and key populations which convened in Bangkok in October. So today, we have the pleasure of launching the first of a series of publications on the different TB key populations -- a living document, and the result of the work with several partners. The Global Plan to End TB 2016-2020 outlines a number of key targets to be achieved by 2020, or 2025 at the latest. This first guide utilizes the recommendations as set out in the Global Plan in order to outline the risks and barriers to access, discuss strategies for improved access, and highlight opportunities for involvement of migrants in all stages of programme development and service delivery.
"I am actually a migrant. Many of us are migrants, or our parents were migrants, or IDPs, or refugees. Nobody leaves his country and place of birth and friends because he is too happy. Most have no other choice. It is a very traumatizing experience in itself, but to have to cope with health problems and to have no access, to be stigmatized, unable to communicate, with no funds -- it is a horrible situation. As Stop TB partners, we are a small wheel in the entire global mechanism that is trying to address this global crisis of migrants and refugees. The number of international migrants is expected to surpass 250 million this year, an all time high, as people search for economic opportunity. But, we know that if we are to end TB, we must ensure that any migrant, refugee or IDP receives the same access to diagnosis, treatment and care as any of us would do," said Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership.