20 January 2016 - Geneva, Switzerland - The Stop TB Partnership has published a compendium of survivor stories that feature the personal journeys of 15 individuals who have fought against a disease that millions of others were not as fortunate enough to survive. TB Journeys: Our stories, our words is a poignant look at this journey of resilience and strength.
TB has affected humans for millenia and now ranks as the leading infectious cause of death worldwide. Hundreds of thousands of reports, research manuscripts, news articles, books and other works have been written about the disease. We know the numbers, the statistics, and the policies. However, the TB community knows little about the millions of people who have experienced, struggled against, fought, and died -- but also triumphed over TB.
In November 2015, the Stop TB Partnership in collaboration with the Global Coalition of TB Activists (GCTA), hosted the first ever meeting of TB survivors in Bangkok, Thailand. Participants came from different parts of the world and walks of life, but they had common goals: to discuss the challenges they faced throughout their TB journeys, to share their experiences in surmounting them and to affirm their aspirations for engaging and supporting others who must embark upon similar journeys.
As survivors, they are committed to lending their voices and stories in honor of those who were not as fortunate and died needlessly. As we move into a new era in the fight against TB, there is an urgency and commitment to do things differently - to a paradigm shift in the way people think about TB and how TB care services are delivered. It is essential for national TB programmes, domestic governments and international donors to invest in community and patient-centred initiatives which ensure that every person with TB is diagnosed, treated and cured.
These survivors are committed to keeping the journeys of the millions of people with TB at the forefront of their minds and to think about the ways in which they, the survivors and people affected by TB, can constructively contribute to ending TB.