Call to Action to Eliminate Tuberculosis
Reversing the Epidemic by Including Persons Living with and Affected by Tuberculosis in Efforts to Eliminate TB
- Anyone can contract tuberculosis, yet the disease thrives on the most vulnerable-the marginalized and people living in poverty.
- Misinformation about what causes TB, how the disease is transmitted and whether it can be cured plays a role in the stigmatization of persons affected by TB.
- Persons affected by TB are rarely consulted for their insight into TB education and advocacy materials. They are the voices for their communities.
- Utilizing the wisdom of persons impacted by TB by appointment to TB advisory boards and committees at every level is imperative.
- Lifting one’s family out of poverty is an extreme challenge when TB impacts adults in their most economically active years.
- TB is not solely a medical problem. Rather it is a reflection of complex social, economic, and political inequities and instabilities.
- Advocating for persons impacted by TB will help change TB misconceptions, beliefs, and policies, and ultimately assist to eliminate TB.
Tuberculosis (TB) Photovoice participants* and Nuestra Casa Initiative partners note the toll that tuberculosis places on individuals, communities, and society. Believing that together we can eliminate TB, we call on all global leaders, governments, policy and decision makers, advocates, and communities at large to support and champion this call to Anyone can action, which consists of three different and complementary aspects requiring your commitment to action.
TB Elimination Requires:
- Increased visibility of persons affected by TB, their stories, lives, worries, concerns, vulnerabilities, and aspirations. This requires increasing visibility of the social, economic, and cultural determinants of TB in the context of poverty and disparities, and the human face of TB, beyond the mycobacterium and the medical treatment. We believe that TB in and of itself does not kill the person. Rather, long-term disability and death is caused by the lack of access to timely and quality DOTS treatments, lack of humane support services, stigma, discrimination, and negligence. TB is preventable, treatable, and curable.
- Inclusion, parity, and the participation of persons affected by TB across all levels of endeavors.The active participation of patients in the treatment and care decisions is essential for the elimination of TB. Patients require person-centered care that focuses on the individual and not just on the disease requiring the involvement of the patient’s support network. Treatment for TB should not end with the 6, 9, 12, or 18+ months to complete medication. A commitment should be made to assist the person to re-establish their life beyond completion of TB treatment. Representation of individuals and communities affected by TB must participate in funded information, education, and advocacy campaigns.
- Sustainable and permanent lines of funding through efficient distribution mechanisms. Community based organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations need support to provide individual, group, and community interventions that strengthen the support systems of persons affected by TB. Efforts must be funded that enhance the ability of individuals to advocate for their autonomous needs, as demonstrated by innovative projects like TB PhotoVoice. Funding efforts are needed to support health promotion and protection initiatives that focus on leadership, advocacy, communication, and social mobilization of health personnel, workers, and communities affected by TB. Funding efforts must commit to protect globally poor and vulnerable populations from TB, TB/HIV, MDR, XDR-TB, and TB and Diabetes. Global funding must guarantee universal access to vaccines; timely and accurate diagnosis and universal DOTS+ as the cornerstones of the fight to eliminate TB.
Recognizing the task ahead and the technical, operational, and financial resources that this will entail, we call upon governments, policy and decision makers, leaders, practitioners, advocates, and communities at large to support and champion this Call to Action. We are asking you to champion the efforts to include individuals affected by TB so they can be visible and equal-partners in the fight to eliminate tuberculosis. Elimination will only be possible with your commitment to advocate for sustainable and permanent funding.
*This Call to Action to Eliminate TB was originally created by participants from the four different world TB PhotoVoice projects and presented to international TB experts and decision makers during the “Tuberculosis Through the Eyes and Voices of Patients around the World” panel discussion in the community of Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa on November 11, 2007. It has been enhanced by a collective of Mexican and US Border Photovoice participants.