Activating a human rights-based TB response

A technical brief for policymakers and program implementers - a joint effort of the Global Coalition of TB Activists, the Stop TB Partnership and the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.

21 July 2020 -- Activating a Human Rights-Based Tuberculosis Response – A Technical Brief for Policymakers and Program Implementers was launched Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, WHO, in the presence of Dainius Puras, UNSR to Right to Health (link for launch here).

The technical brief, to guide policy makers and program implementers, was a joint effort of the GCTA, Stop TB Partnership and the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and was written by Prof. Brian Citro, Asst. Clinical Prof, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.

Dr. Tedros launched the policy brief on behalf of all the stakeholders and in his key note said, “Health is a right’s issue. Health is a human right for all and not privilege for few and this remains central to the fight against TB. The brief is so important. Its 20 concrete recommendations give the tools to move the rights, from rhetoric to reality. This brief is applicable not just for TB but for COVID. It’s a game changer."

The launch was made more meaningful with the presence of the UN Special Rapporteur on Right to Health,  Danius Puras, who said, "If we undermine a Human Rights based approach then efforts may go waste even if resources are available. If we, as a global community, want to address TB then we need active community participation and non-discrimination. This brief is a realization of my dream."

The virtual gathering had 122 people from across the globe, passionate about ending TB.

In her opening remarks, Blessina Kumar, CEO, GCTA said, "this is really inverting the status quo in a way, because guidance usually comes from WHO/ STBP/ NTPs etc. But here is a guidance led by the community and supported by the people around the table here. We need the ear of policy makers and we couldn’t have asked for a better group, with the ability and power to really make a difference towards a people centered rights based TB response."

Brian Citro, provided a succinct introduction to the Brief and added, “now, more than ever, TB policymakers and programs must hardwire Human Rights into their interventions to keep us safe and healthy.”

This was followed by an invigorating panel discussion moderated by Allan Maleche, a Human Rights lawyer and ED of Kelin, an NGO in Kenya, working to help vulnerable groups realize their right to health.

“We need commitment. Prisoners are often forgotten. Prisoners' rights are Human Rights. For me, a Human Rights based approach to TB means people in prisons have access to information, care and no stigma.” – Karabo Rafube, TB Survivor, SA

“I was deprived of my right to information and my right to mental health because I had no counselling support. The response to TB has to be a rights-based approach. This brief will empower advocates to fight for their rights as well as the rights of other people” – Prabha Mahesh, TB Survivor, "Touched by TB" (National Coalition of People Affected by TB), India

“I had no counselling. I had no information. Nothing. People don't know they have the right to information. This Brief clearly lists the right to information in its 20 recommendations. I think that is a huge step in the right direction.” – Dr. R. Gopa Kumar, TB Survivor, "Touched by TB" (National Coalition of People Affected by TB), India

“I am taking this brief very personally. This is for me, my colleagues, and not just at the headquarters but at the regional and country levels. I am actively using it to edit our core documents to avoid discriminatory language. That is a clear example how timely and useful this would be.” – Tereza Kasaeva, Director GTB, WHO

“For us to end TB we must ensure that communities and people affected by TB are the drivers of the TB response. With this tool we will be able to achieve that.” – Lucica Ditiu, ED, Stop TB Partnership

“We have made significant progress in the fight against TB and the way we infuse that fight with a Human Rights approach. However, we are not finished and we have loads to do. What we have launched today is an important step in driving this fight forward.” – Peter Sands, ED, Global Fund

“Meaningful community engagement and interventions focusing on Human Rights are what is going to take us to the last mile.” – Dr. K S Sachdeva, DDG, NTEP, India

GCTA remains committed, along with our members and partners, to lead the efforts to end TB with respect, dignity and upholding the rights of those affected.

Source: GCTA

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By Global Coalition of TB Activists, Stop TB Partnership, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

Published: July 21, 2020, 11:15 p.m.

Last updated: July 25, 2020, 10:16 p.m.

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