Georgia TBPeopleIt has long been said that here is no political will to end TB. While that has historically been true, 2018 is the year we challenge that.

In a twelve-month period, we will have seen a Global Ministerial Conference on TB, G20 prioritisation of the importance of research and development into TB and a UN High Level Meeting on TB. It is up to us how we harness the political will these high level events generate and ensure tangible results for the people with experience of TB. A great outcome will not come out of the fact that we simply have a meeting, it’s up to the entire TB community to attain strong commitments that will stop the TB epidemic. There are many different stakeholders working on this in different ways; ranging from diplomats in Embassies in New York and Geneva to the officials of the Ministry of Health in their respective capitals, the WHO, UN, Stop TB Partnership, parliamentarians and civil society. However, no groups involvement is more important than the community of people who have lived experience of TB for they know exactly what is needed as they have been through it themselves.

That’s why RESULTS UK and the TB Europe Coalition attended a meeting of TBPeople, the first ever regional network of people with experience of TB across Europe and Central Asia, in Tbilisi, Georgia. To make the UN High Level Meeting a success, it is clear that the community of people with TB will have to be mobilised and supported. The TB Europe Coalition presented its work within the process so far, including the results of a network wide consultation on what the outcomes we want to see. Together, we identified what the priorities are from the perspective of people who have lived through the disease. These priorities will be incorporated in to a joint poTBPeople Georgiasition of civil society and community across the WHO Europe region, which will then be used to advocate our position to our governments across the region and the world.

The timing of the workshop coincided with the regional Summit of parliamentarians from Eastern Europe and Central Asia, of the Global TB Caucus. This provided an exciting opportunity for TBPeople to meet their parliamentarians, and tell them exactly what it’s like to live with TB in their country, highlighting the key role that the community can play in supporting parliamentarians take action across the continent.

Over the next 18 months we have an unprecedented opportunity to turn the tide in the TB response. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to harness concrete commitments at the highest political level to see the end of TB, and the movement of civil society and people who have had TB will be crucial our success.


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