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TB Zeroes Campaign Achieves Big Win

tagline Winter 2013

by Erica Lessem

The world has recently called for zero new TB deaths, infections, and suffering, and that voice has been heard. Treatment Action Group (TAG), along with other activists, researchers, clinicians, implementers, policy makers, and foundation and government staff began calling in May 2012 for a new global TB strategy focusing on ending TB deaths, new infections, suffering, and stigma.

The  Zeroes Campaign: Differences from the World Health Organization (WHO) Stop TB Strategy

 

Zeroes Campaign

Stop TB Strategy

Goal

  • End TB deaths, infections, suffering, and stigma as soon as possible
  • Halt and begin to reverse the incidence of TB by 2015
  • Eliminate TB as a public health problem by 2050
  • TB control

Country ownership

  • Essential: countries need to determine their own timeframes and strategy for getting to zero
  • Minimal: targets are set by WHO globally

Civil-society involvement

  • Essential: stems from calls for changes to the status quo from advocates and activists as well as scientists and policy makers
  • Civil-society involvement will also be crucial to engaging and maintaining political will globally and in-countries
  • Mediocre: calls for advocacy, communication, and social mobilization; and community participation in TB care, prevention, and health promotion
  • However, civil-society groups were not meaningfully engaged in the drafting of the Stop TB Strategy nor in ongoing efforts to implement that strategy

Importance of research

  • Essential: calls for increased investment in research for development of new TB drug regimens, diagnostic tests, and
  • vaccines
  • Essential: calls for research to be enabled and promoted

Mentality

  • Optimistic
  • Patient-centered
  • Adaptable
  • Integrated with other health areas
  • Unambitious
  • Geneva-centered
  • Rigid
  • Vertical: TB is in a silo


Just six months later, these demands have been endorsed by one of the leading global structures fighting TB, the Stop TB Partnership (http://www.stoptb.org/news/stories/2012/ns12_073.asp).

Indeed, since its inception in May 2012 and introduction in the fall 2012 issue of TAGline,  the Zeroes campaign has made remarkable progress in changing the way the world addresses TB. The Zeroes campaign—with the support of TAG, the Stop TB Partnership, Partners In Health, the Sentinel Project on Pediatric Drug-Resistant TB, and the Harvard Medical School Department of Global Health and Social Medicine—hosted a symposium on November 13, 2012 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Speakers—including survivors of TB, researchers, and care providers—urged the over 100 attendees, and the world, to get to zero for TB quickly, and explained both how this is possible and what is required. Videos from the Symposium are available online at: http://www.treatmentactiongroup.org/tb/advocacy/zero-symposium. Additionally, the Zero declaration has now been endorsed by over 500 organizations and individuals.

With clear public support and emerging political will, the Zeroes campaign will continue to forge forward with foundational work to map and model what it would take in terms of case finding, prevention, treatment, diagnosis, care, metrics, and economics to reduce new TB deaths, infections, stigma, and suffering as rapidly as possible. Please join these efforts by signing on to the Zeroes declaration, and demanding zero TB deaths, infections, and suffering where you live!