Message from Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership

..... and try to find Wally!

21 December 2016, Geneva, Switzerland - This message will be shorter as everyone is on the run to finalize reports and work assignments, to pack for the holidays, to buy presents, to write cards, to call family and friends.

I wanted to touch on two main things through this message:

Firstly, thank you everyone for all the work done in 2016 to make the world better and healthier. Irrespective if you were working in TB, HIV, malaria, NCDs, mental health, nutrition, emergencies, climate change, road safety or other areas of health and development - thank you! We always have challenges in our work, but we can overcome them. There is always a price to pay, but there are also rewards, albeit small. Thank you for the day to day work and resistance, resilience and hope.

For my colleagues, partners and friends working in TB - thank you for all the support and hard work - we had some great, great achievements in 2016! I am happy that several items on my bucket list when I took over this job are being accomplished. We are now, as TB community at large, and the Stop TB Partnership, in a place where we were never before - on the global health agenda, on national agendas and with changing and amazing mindsets towards Ending TB! None of this would have been possible without the hard work from all of us! Thank you!

Secondly, let’s buckle up for 2017. The world we live seems to spiral in a wrong direction and stories of pain, desperation, suffering, stigma, human rights violations, and death are around us every day. 2017 will not be different and we have no idea what it might bring. But we must know that each of us has powers that nothing can defeat – the power of hope and love for each other, the power to care and of compassion. We must let all these beautiful feelings out every minute and every day. And maybe the world will become the one we want to leave for our children.

For my TB colleagues and friends - 2017 will be a challenging year that we can also make historic. There are many opportunities ahead of us: the meetings with the countries that are part of BRICS, the G20, the African Union, ASEAN, Regional Ministerial Meetings and the big Global Meeting in Russia and towards the UN High Level Meeting on TB in 2018 – to ensure that our advocacy efforts are successful in focusing and enhancing the attention that we need to end TB.

However, even more important than any of these global and regional opportunities, are the ones in the countries where we work - domestic and external funding (and especially the Global Fund), changing our mindsets and shifting the paradigm (as we say in the Global Plan to End TB 2016-2020) and staying united, coming together under one direction, towards ending TB.

In 2017 we have to work hard and aim to find every single person suffering from TB but also any other disease. Let's "search and find and rescue" to "leave no one behind". No one that needs our help and love and care!

To end and to practice a bit - :) - and in the spirit of the holiday season - we invite you to find Wally - hidden somewhere in our staff Christmas photo.

Wishing you all a happy new year and looking forward to working together in 2017!