The Stop TB Partnership Board Meeting results in decisions to urge bold TB response in 2019

8 February 2019, Geneva, Switzerland - Last week at its first meeting since the United Nations High-Level Meeting on tuberculosis (UNHLM on TB), the Stop TB Partnership Board made a number of critical decisions to support bold and immediate actions towards reaching the commitments and targets set forth in the UN Political Declaration on TB.

The Board also discussed the urgent need for mobilization of the entire TB community for significant increase in funding for TB response - for implementation and research - as well as manners in which TB care can be changed and modernized, access secured to diagnosis and treatment for all those affected by TB and engagement of civil society and communities in TB programmes. Read more here about the urgent call to "Step up the Fight."

Opening the Board via a video uplink from South Africa, Minister of Health of South Africa and Chair of the Stop TB Partnership Board Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi said: "The High-Level Meeting remains, possibly the most important milestone in global political leadership and stewardship on TB. We, as the Stop TB Partnership, should take pride in that, not only did we demand such a meeting to take place, but we played a central role in the planning and preparation for the meeting, including the opportunity granted to us to address the meeting."

Minister Motsoaledi reminded the forum that the UNHLM nevertheless disclosed some difficulties facing the TB Community as the "the 15 Heads of State/Government who attended the HLM were much fewer than the 50 plus we had hoped for." He added that Heads of State should constantly be reminded that its’ them carrying the responsibility for the success of the TB response in their countries and that "Heads of State must play a visible role" in finding the missing people with TB[...] as "undiagnosed missing TB infected persons constitute an invisible and yet, infectious and lethal pool that will undermine all efforts in ridding the world of TB".

"TB doesn’t need a visa, and it doesn’t recognize color or race. It affects reach and poor - no one is immune. To fight TB, we need to do things differently," said Board Member and Minister of Health of Nigeria, Professor Isaac Adewole, as he addressed the Board.

"I speak as one who survived TB. What is most valuable is that Stop TB has created a platform for civil society and communities to add their voice to the fight against TB and make sure we are heard," said Abdulai Sesay, TB survivor from Sierra Leone.

The effect TB has on women, and their lives as caregivers were pushed in the spotlight as Mrs. Thokozile Beatrex Nkhoma, Stop TB Partnership Board member representing Communities affected by TB said that "the impact of TB on women cannot be overemphasized. They can be overwhelmed while caring for their family members with TB. Be aware that women are taking a great interest in the TB fight."

During the Board Meeting Stop TB partnership’s TB REACH announced that the Wave 7 call for proposals will open on the 18th February. Wave 7 call for proposals will focus on the empowerment of women and girls and gender equality to tackle serious challenges at the community level as a priority factor in the fight against TB. More details about the call for proposals to follow.

Holding all stakeholders accountable for the commitments they made at the United Nations High-Level Meeting (UNHLM) on TB should be the priority in the coming period. "Accountability was one of the success stories of the UNHLM on TB, but it should on all levels, from the political top to grassroots activism to make sure things actually do happen," said Aaron Oxley, Board Member and Executive Director of RESULTS UK.

The Board also set forth clearly defined decision points, recognizing the dynamic work of the Stop TB Partnership, it’s teams and partners and encouraging the Secretariat as well as all partners to undertake further bold and cutting-edge actions and initiatives to meet the targets set forth by the UN Strategic Development Goals (SDGs) and end TB by 2030.

The Stop TB Partnership and the Confluence for Health Action and Transformation Foundation ("India Health Fund") signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) during the Board meeting, as a contribution to accelerating the roll-out of new, people-centered TB innovations in the fight against TB in India and other high-burden countries. Click here to read more.

Setting the scene for the Board Meeting, the Stop TB Partnership and the Permanent Missions of Canada, Kazakhstan and Moldova to the United Nations (UN) organized on 28 January a Briefing on the global health landscape following the UNHLM on TB and how reaching ambitious TB targets set in the Political Declaration on TB, including a commitment to reach US$13 billion in annual global TB funding by 2022, will put the world on track to meeting the UN SDG to end TB by 2030, and help realize the goal of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Minister of Health of Nigeria, Professor Isaac Adewole and the Vice-Minister of Health of Kazakhstan, Alexei Tsoy as well as the Director-General of the UN Office in Geneva Michale Møller, a number of Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives to the UN based in Geneva were also informed about the preparations for the upcoming UNHLM on UHC and the Global Funds Investment Case for TB from the Global Fund Executive Director, Dr. Peter Sands. Read more by clicking here.

Access here all the Decision Points of the Stop TB partnership 31st Board Meeting, which took place on 29 and 30 January 2019 in Geneva. The next Stop TB Partnership Board Meeting will take place in Jakarta, Indonesia in the last quarter of 2019.