The Global TB Caucus is a partner of TBEC and is a unique international network of political representatives with support in more than 150 countries with more than 2500 members and 53 National TB Caucuses over the world. We are excited to introduce the new GTBC Western European regional Coordinator.
Hello! My name is Lucy Foster, and I am the new Western European Regional Coordinator within the Global TB Caucus. I’m from the United Kingdom, and I currently live in London. My previous role in the Global TB Caucus was Global Secretariat Coordinator, and I have been working with the team for over a year now. Before joining the Caucus, I studied Global Health and Development at University, so I am thrilled every day to be able to apply the knowledge learnt from my studies in a practical, tangible way.
Of course, I start this new role in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. As I am writing this, the UK, similar to many other countries in the world, is at the peak of its second wave. This brings many challenges to working with Western European MPs, as attention is justifiably focused on COVID-19. COVID-19 also brings further challenges to the fight against TB. The disruption caused by COVID-19 is predicted to set back the TB response by 5-8 years, causing an additional 1.5 million deaths in the years 2020 – 2025.
However, this also brings additional opportunities for the TB world. It is our job as TB advocates to harness the incredible momentum that has been shown with regards to resources for COVID-19 diagnostics, treatment, and R&D, and apply it to the TB epidemic globally.
I am hoping that by focusing on these opportunities, we won’t go back to pre-pandemic times where TB was often wrongly thought of as a disease of the past. We must highlight that investments in TB, such as health systems strengthening, resource mobilisation, and increased R&D spending, will benefit global health in general. In addition, by working in a closer, more cohesive way with the EECA region, we hope to develop a regional, sustainable, and multi-stakeholder approach to ending the TB epidemic.
We are 10 years out from the 2030 SDG deadline. Let’s harness the political will and momentum for global health investments to promote an effective people-centered, human rights-based response to TB.