24th March 2010 saw the celebration of WORLD TB DAY. The UK Coalition to Stop TB used the day to launch a new campaign ’TB: A Disease of the Past? Action Now!’ , through which the coalition aims to challenge the UK Government on the eve of a general election, to prioritise tuberculosis on the domestic and global health agendas and take the lead in the international response to fight TB.
With only five years remaining to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), almost 5,000 people will continue to die from tuberculosis every day. Now is the time to take action!
At 12pm on 24th March 2010 the UK Coalition to Stop TB delivered their TB Election Asks to No.10 Downing Street. Kibble Ngalauka, Executive Director of the Sue Ryder Foundation Malawi, and Aparna Barua, coordinator of the UK Coalition to Stop TB were present alongside Clare Shaw from Target Tuberculosis and Mike Smith, coordinator of the APPG on Global TB.
With several key pieces in the media highlighting World TB Day including an Open letter in the Times Newspaper, a tuberculosis supplement in the Financial Times, and a letter in the Guardian commenting on the WHO MDR-report released recently, good coverage on tuberculosis in the public media reinforced the message that TB is a crucial issue for the UK government.
Lucy Chesire from the Kenya AIDS NGOs Consortium (KANCO) is currently in the UK to support RESULTS and the Coalition’s activities around World TB Day, and she was interview on the BBC’s ‘Focus on Africa’ programme as well as the BBC Swahili service. You can listen to the interview from ‘Focus on Africa’ here.
The highlight of World TB Day in London was an evening reception and exhibition in Westminster, jointly hosted by Target Tuberculosis and the UK Coalition to Stop TB. Over 100 people attended with organizations being represented from international development to public health to media to APPG members!
A brilliant evening was had by all, learning about the key facts of TB through a series of photos taken by the professional photographer David Brunetti who was commissioned by Target Tuberculosis to take pictures of their community projects in north India. It was a great way for the TB community to get together to mark the end of World TB Day 2010, celebrate our achievements so far and look ahead to future challenges.
During World TB Day the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) announced that it it is committing £12 million to a new drive to reduce the prevalence of TB in developing countries. The Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation will receive £8 million to develop new tuberculosis vaccines. The remaining £4 million will help the Foundation of Innovative Diagnostic accelerate its research on improving diagnostics techniques.
While any new money to tackle the neglected crisis of TB is welcome, these announcements remain far short of what is needed to ensure we have the tools to tackle the changing face of TB. We will continue to push DFID to commit further resources to stop this preventable and treatable disease killing millions.