GCTA at The Union Conference

Nov. 14, 2019, 3:43 p.m.


The Global Coalition of the TB Activists (GCTA) has had a meaningful and exciting week at the 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health. Read on for some quick highlights!  


Third book in the GCTA Stigma series, Men and TB Stigma was launched at the press conference on TB Diagnosis, Treatment and New Drugs (31 Oct 2019). Jeff Acaba spoke on behalf of GCTA.
  Watch the official press launch plenary here
  Find some photos here
  Read the book here
The Transforming the TB Response – Capacity Building of Communities to be Change Agents Training Manual developed in collaboration with our partners from around the globe was launched on 1 Nov 2019 at a session moderated by Wim Vandevelde, with many of our partners speaking and sharing their experiences. 

Download the manual here
A Human Rights-Based Response to TB

GCTA in Partnership with North-western University and STOP TB Partnership conducted the first ever Human Rights Based Response to TB Workshop for lawyers and TB affected community and civil society members.

This workshop brought lawyers & affected communities together to further a country level rights based TB response. The workshop was modeled to further the goal of the Nairobi Strategy to "develop and implement a human rights-based response to TB at the global, regional, national and local levels." 
The workshop had representation from - Kenya, Botswana, Cambodia, Philippines, Indonesia, Nepal and India and served as a stepping stone for continued conversations with all the representatives.
We plan to continue conversations with the group to further cohesive and collaborative human rights-based work at all levels.
Activism at the Union Conference

GCTA joined our global partners and activists in all activism activities. Activists demanded reduction of prices for GeneXpert Cartridges, Access to Bedaquiline and Delamanid 
Official Launch of the Judicial Handbook on TB, Human Rights and the Law

Blessina Kumar spoke at the workshop to present the view from the communities on how courts can be a catalysing agent to fight stigma in the TB response. She said, “As an affected community member, I may know that my rights are violated, but then, what next? What can we do to ensure that the rights of the affected communities are not violated? And if there is a violation, where do they go? I implore the legal community to build bridges to combat this gap of resources and work in tandem with the communities. We all have the same goal, let’s work together to achieve it.”

The Way Forward for TB Vaccines
This session was coordinated by Working Group on New TB Vaccines, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and the International Aids Vaccine Initiative. The session provided an update on the results from two phase IIB trials, and substantial progress across the pipeline.
Blessina Kumar presented the response from the community to the on-going research and development for TB vaccines. “The meaningful participation of affected communities in TB research has to be a core element furthering a good participatory practice, as outlined by the AERAS Community Engagement Programme. I would go a step further and also say that TB vaccine R&D investors need to consider funding communities and invest in community engagement for a rounded research stride.”
Modelling to Support Ending the Emergency: Science, Leadership, Action
Mathematical modelling is a critical tool to create evidence of the potential health impacts, cost-effectiveness and resource implications of future TB care and prevention options. In this TB Modelling and Analysis Consortium organised session, Blessina Kumar talked about how effective modelling  can become powerful advocacy tool to influence the Ending the Emergency agenda. She emphasized on communities being experts due to their lived experience and invited all modelers to actively engage with communities. Her address met with immense appreciation and a versatile Q&A followed.
GCTA @ Community Connect
Taking Stock Post UNHLM: Translating Political Commitments to Actions on the Ground
This session included presentations by different stakeholders sharing experiences on progress, what has been done so far on the ground, best practices, challenges met and what further needs to be done to meet the targets. We were joined by Evaline Kibuchi (Stop TB Kenya), Yuliya Chorna (TB Europe Coalition), Khuat Thi Hai Oanh (SCDI) and Jeffry Acaba (ACT! AP) as panellists.
Interesting discussions followed and we at GCTA commit to keep the synergies flowing by facilitating many more such platforms for cross-learning. Our work does not stop here.
Stigma: The Biggest Barrier to End TB by 2030 – Assessing TB Stigma for a Rights Based TB Response
This session included discussion with TB survivors featured in GCTA TB stigma books (Women and Stigma, Childhood TB and Stigma and Men and Stigma), and others, regarding their experiences of stigma and how they overcame the challenges. The session also introduced the TB Stigma Assessment tool developed by the Stop TB Partnership, including the objectives of the assessment, methodology, process and the lessons learned from piloting in India and Sierra Leone and, the connection to broader CRG work and how this tool can contribute to broader TB UNHLM Political Declaration Accountability.
Transforming the TB Response - Capacity Building of Communities to be Change Agents: Experience from the Field
This session was designed to present the journey that GCTA has been on the develop the Transforming the TB Response – Capacity Building of Communities to be Change Agents Training Manual.
We are immensely proud that our partners launched the training manual at this session. You can access a copy here.
Meet the WHO Civil Society Task Force
Blessina Kumar and other CSTF members participated in this session to engage with the participants and civil society representatives to further a holistic approach to end TB.
Impacting for Change: How Networks of Advocates and TB Survivors are Changing the Response
Our Board member Elvi Siahaan, ACT!AP and our CEO, Blessina Kumar participated in this session to talk about how GCTA as a global platform of TB activists and advocates continues to strive for a people-centered rights-based TB response at all levels. Blessina Kumar shed light on the GCTA publications on Stigma while the former talked about the community empowerment tools that have been developed by GCTA.
Let's Shake a Leg!
Shaking a leg with front-line health workers, ASHAs, ANMs and Treatment Supervisors.
"These are the heroes that lead the TB response at the field level with the communities. They are integral to ending TB", said Blessina Kumar.