APCASO, together with various community and civil society partners in the region such as the Global Coalition of TB activists (GCTA), Action for Health Initiative (ACHIEVE), Inc., KHANA, Africa-Japan Forum, and Spiritia Foundation, met at UNAIDS New York Office in the sidelines of the UN High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis to strategize and consolidate collective action to ensure that TB-affected communities and civil society in Asia-Pacific have a stronger voice and that priorities will be highlighted in the country statements of the region.
At the meeting, the group agreed to come up with a communities statement that highlights five key asks:
- Commit towards hasty rollout and availability of Bedaquiline and Delamanid in high-burden countries in Asia-Pacific;
- Commit to the government’s mandate in the procurement, distribution, and regulation of drugs and production of generics to increase access;
- Fast-track the scaling up of HIV/TB response through alignment of treatment guidelines between TB and HIV;
- Use terminologies that recognizes the rights of these people affected by TB; and
- Commit to involve communities in the entire implementation and accountability of the 2018 Political Declaration in a non-discriminatory manner with funding towards supporting community-led and community-based responses. Community engagement remains crucial towards the success of the TB response.
The statement was later delivered as an intervention by RD Marte, Executive Director of APCASO, on behalf of the global civil society and TB-affected communities under Multistakeholder Panel 1: Accelerating comprehensive response through access to affordable prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care to end the tuberculosis epidemic. Kuat Thi Hai Oanh, SCDI Executive Director, was also at this 1stPanel to represent civil society working on tuberculosis and to highlight the need to support community-led responses and engage communities meaningfully in the response.
We need to engage with people who are left behind. They are the one who know best, what prevent them from getting diagnosed, treated, and getting treatment, and how to overcome these areas. It is time now…to recognize the critical role of this community and fully engage them, not just subject of chest x-ray.
We call on governments to move beyond political declaration to political action. This is demonstrated through matching all commitments squarely with resources, including through both increased domestic resources for Tb, as well as full funding of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and support for the Stop TB Partnership.