Top professionals join forces in think tank on TB advocacy

8 July 2011 - Cambridge, Massachusetts - This week marketing and public relations experts from the private sector, advocacy professionals who know the global health/TB environment and the Stop TB Partnership Secretariat came together with a common purpose: to achieve a breakthrough on TB messaging. The two-day think tank, which was hosted by the Harvard School of Public Health and Partners in Health, was held at Harvard's Cambridge campus.

The challenge to the group was this: At a time of dwindling resources, TB is being "out-messaged" and "out-championed'' by other health and development issues. Their task was to apply their creativity, experience and tactical expertise to developing the seeds of a revitalized and inspiring messaging campaign - one that can drive a new level of political commitment to and funding for TB.

Becton, Dickinson and Company, the BASF Corporation, Heineken International, Kempinski, and Eli Lilly and Company all contributed experts; as did the public relations/communications luminaries Edelman (New York), Neucom Consulting (Delhi) and Vbat (Amsterdam). Global Health Advocates, Malaria No More, Médecins sans Frontières, PATH, RESULTS, and Treatment Action Group brought the perspective of veteran advocacy campaigners.

"This was an incredible gathering of great minds and big hearts," says Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Secretary of the Stop TB Partnership. "The results are very exciting - some bold first steps towards transforming the world's conversation about TB."

The concepts developed by the think tank will now be refined by a small group of volunteers from the private sector group. "We will keep all our partners informed as campaign plans come to life," Dr Ditiu says.