A new network, the Global Coalition of TB activists (GCTA), that aims to put communities affected by tuberculosis (TB) at the centre of decision making in the fight against TB was launched yesterday, as the Stop TB Partnership explain here.

The global coalition emerged after talks in Geneva, hosted by the Stop TB Partnership in February, ended with the recommendation that the Community Task Force (advocates serving on various Stop TB Partnership working groups) restructured into a broader global coalition.

This broader coalition aims to represent and unite communities affected not only by ‘standard’ TB but also multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) and TB/HIV in order to achieve greater coordination in fighting for  a TB free world.

Dr Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, welcomed the news. He noted the importance of ‘ensuring that access to TB services must increase for everyone but especially for vulnerable and stigamtized groups’ – something that is impossible achieve without the involvement of communities, activists and civil society organisations.

The group aims to be a catalyst of change, influencing the global TB control agenda and empowering patients and patient groups. The group state that the objectives of the GCTA are:

  • Act as a community representation body at local, state, national and international levels
  • Provide input to the two representatives of communities affected by TB on the Stop TB Partnership Board, and to community representatives on other Global Health Initiatives
  • Build the capacity of activists and encourage their involvement in global health initiatives and establish TB advocacy forums at different levels
  • Create a platform where different stakeholders such as affected communities, activists, civil society organizations and government allies can come together and lobby with policy makers to develop rights-based and patient-centered TB policies and strategies.
  • Build a pool of well-informed and confident activists and advocates to share their experiences with other groups.

TB patients and survivors, members of affected communities and TB activists working across the world are invited to join the GCTA through its Google Group. We encourage you to join to get your voice heard and unite for a world free of TB!