6 November 2009 | Geneva -- "This is no time to lower our sights in the fight against MDR/XDR TB and HIV-TB," said Dr Jorge Sampaio, the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Stop TB, during his opening remarks to the Stop TB Coordinating Board in Geneva yesterday. He also shared his belief that everyone must work together to meet the MDGs on health as a whole or we will fail, because in basic public health issues -- including major pandemics -- health systems are tied together.
Also present at the opening ceremony was Mr Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. Mr Sidibé made a strong call for a compact between UNAIDS and the Stop TB Partnership, one that would formally tie the two organizations together as partners in the global fight against tuberculosis. WHO Assistant Director-General Dr Hiro Nakatani; and Dr Rufaro Chatora, WHO AFRO Director in the Division of Prevention and Control of AIDS, TB & Malaria, were also speakers at the opening.
This was the final Stop TB board meeting presided over by Mrs Irene Koek, who has completed her tenure as Chair. The election of a new Chair -- Dr Rifat Atun, Director of the Strategy, Performance and Evaluation Cluster of the Global Fund -- was announced at the meeting's start. The Board thanked Mrs Koek for her years of service and presented her with a commemorative plaque.
Agenda items at the Board meeting included a presentation by McKinsey & Company reviewing progress on its collaborative project with the Stop TB Partnership Secretariat to strengthen performance management. A presentation of the partnership's advocacy strategy was followed by a review of the Partnership's progress on MDR-TB following decisions and recommendations taken in Berlin in 2007, at the recent ministerial meeting in Beijing and in the 2009 WHA resolution.
The second day of the Board's meeting focused on engagement with the private sector and the Global fund and a discussion on the next steps forward on the Rio Recommendations, the outcome document of the 3rd Stop TB Partners' Forum in March 2009. Final sessions focussed on the activities of the Stop TB Research Movement and the WHO Global Task Force on TB Impact Measurement.