Sahu Suvanand, Stop TB Partnership
We at Stop TB Partnership strongly believe that irrespective of where people live, their socio-economic status, and the income levels of their countries, they should have the right to access the latest and the best science for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of TB. This is a human right issue and an equity issue.
We believe the launch of the “1/4/6×24 Campaign” is an excellent opportunity to make rapid progress towards providing people access to the new shorter and people-friendly treatment regimens for TB infection, drug susceptible TB, and drug-resistant TB, in both adults and children.
Unlike in the past, now the fight against TB has several new tools and more are in the research pipeline.
We have seen that once WHO recommends a new treatment regimen, it takes time for countries to update their treatment guidelines, arrange the funds, procure new medicines, stop the old regimen, and scale up new regimen. In some situations, the time taken is really long. We believe this can be fast tracked and we heard from at least two countries today how they have fast tracked the process.
We saw how countries rapidly adopted new diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines for COVID-19. We need a similar sense of urgency in adoption and use of new tools in TB. Our ambition in TB should now be higher.
Stop TB Partnership is proud to be part of this campaign and we commit the following:
First, as you know advocacy and communication is at the core of Stop TB Partnership work. We commit to include the “1/4/6×24 campaign” in our advocacy and communication work, and in the work we do involving TB affected communities. There are important opportunities coming up including the UN High Level Meeting in 2023 and the new funding cycle of Global Fund.
More specifically, we commit to help the campaign by collaborating with partners to develop, design, and disseminate communication material for general audiences, and if required lead in some areas of work related to this.
Next, we also commit to include this campaign in the work we do to empower TB affected communities for community-led actions and for raising the ambition level of counties, for demand generation and for ensuring equity in access.
Finally, and this is important, in our work we will go a step further than replacing the old regimen by the new regimen. We will advocate for more people to be screened and tested for TB, drug-resistant TB, and eligibility for TB preventive treatment. We believe this is needed because the so called “missing people with TB,” who are currently accessing no treatment also deserve to access the new and short regimens.
In addition to this, as you know, the Global Drug Facility is part of Stop TB Partnership. You will hear later from my colleague, Brenda, about how GDF can support this campaign.
Finally, I would like to mention that, as you are aware, Stop TB Partnership is not a donor and almost all of our funding is earmarked by our donors. This is the reason most of our commitments will be fulfilled by linking it to existing activities and not starting a completely new project. We believe that this is possible, and we will do it.
I end by once again congratulating all partners who have conceived this campaign and I wish the campaign all success.