ARASA launches activist guide on human rights and TB

The guide serves as a framework for activists in Southern and East Africa working on HIV, TB and human rights issues in the region. It aims to provide a starting point for activists to identify the key advocacy priorities relating to TB and human rights in their own countries.

CAPE TOWN, December 4, 2015: ARASA has launched a guide for activists called: Close the Gap: TB and Human Rights at the 46th Union World Conference on Lung Health being held in Cape Town this week. With initial results from the STREAM randomised controlled trial showing 80% success rate in using a 9-month treatment option for MDR-TB, compared with 24-month treatment standard – the theme of this year’s Lung conference, “A New Agenda” articulates the long awaited biomedical advancements in turberculosis treament. What remains lagging behind are the ‘people’ who are meant to be accessing the treament. Key populations who are most vulnerable to TB are being missed because of lack of enabling legal, social and policy environments.

“We will never end TB without addressing the social determinants of TB. This is where ensuring human rights is essential,” says Michaela Clayton, Director of ARASA. “Although we have a dearth of information on how to provide treatment and care for people living with TB, a human rights approach to the disease is critical for the region which faces one of the highest burdens on TB in the world and where people often do not have access to treatment and care.”

This document serves as a framework for activists in Southern and East Africa working on HIV, TB and human rights issues in the region. The guide is divided into the five key topics identified as needing urgent attention in the region: A rights-based approach to TB, Criminalisation of TB, Unequal access to TB care and treatment, TB and gender, and People most affected by TB.

“These topics, while often presented as stand-alone issues, require a rights-based response from civil society and communities alike, to ensure that all people living with TB or those most vulnerable to developing TB are afforded their human rights. The case studies presented herein show that it is possible to access justice where there are rights violations as a result of one having TB disease.,” adds Lynette Mabote, Regional Advocacy Team Leader of ARASA.

For each topic, the guide provides background to the issue and case studies from partner countries in the region, to provide best practice examples of how civil society has been able to undertake advocacy efforts to promote rights-based responses regarding the topic. A framework for a way forward for TB activists in the region regarding each topic is outlined, including policy advocacy where there are no rights-based approaches in country’s national TB strategies and documentation of case studies to gather evidence of violations of human rights.

This is a living document, which aims to provide a starting point for activist to identify the key advocacy priorities relating to TB and human rights in their own countries and is not intended to be prescriptive. As articulated by the Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Dr. Mark Dybul, “TB is fundamentally a disease of poverty - it is a disease of social injustice'.

Calls to action:

Below is a summary of the Calls to Action for each section of this Guide. More details can be found within the Call to Action of each section within the guide.

TB and Human Rights:

  • Conduct law and policy review and reform to ensure that human rights principles are upheld
  • Monitor and evaluate proposed interventions using human rights principles
  • Advocate for the provision of legal services for people affected by TB and 
vulnerable groups
  • Advocate for and implement programmes to reduce stigma and discrimination 

Criminalisation of TB:

  • Document cases of human rights violations regarding the criminalisation of TB
  • Advocate for increased accessibility, availability, acceptability and quality of 
community-based treatment and care of TB, especially in the case of drug- 
resistant TB.
  • Advocate for the integration of drug-resistant TB into community-based work

Access to TB prevention, treatment and care:

  • Monitor funding made available for TB and HIV interventions and advocate for 
increased funding (including global and domestic funding)
  • Monitor and advocate for the implementation of TB prevention and care methods 
for people living with HIV
  • Advocate for countries to use compulsory licensing to increase the production of 
generic TB vaccines, diagnostics and treatment 

TB and Gender:

  • Advocate for commitment to address gender and TB
  • Advocate for better data collection regarding women
  • Advocate for women-centered research and development

People most affected by TB:

  • Advocate for meaningful participatory planning and engagement of key populations in addressing TB in these groups
  • Advocate for health services that are tailored to the needs of Key Populations
  • Advocate for measures to address TB in migrants to be taken at country-level
  • Advocate for the TB needs of HCW and miners to be addressed
  • Advocate for the TB needs of prisoners to be addressed

To download the guide, click here.

Source: ARASA

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Published: Dec. 11, 2015, 1:53 p.m.

Last updated: Dec. 11, 2015, 2:54 p.m.

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