Union staff and members unite on World TB Day

Across the globe Union members and staff united under the theme of World TB Day - 24 March 2018 -  “Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free World. You can make history. End TB.”

It’s a theme that focuses on building commitment to end tuberculosis (TB), not only at the political level with Heads of State and Ministers of Health, but at every level including community leaders, healthcare workers, nurses and doctors, partners and stakeholders. In short, each and every one of us.
 
José Luis Castro, Executive Director, The Union, said: “We can all be leaders in efforts to end TB. We can influence this aim in our own work, region and area of specialisation.”

Highlights from Union country offices, member sections and subsections include:

The Union’s Zoonotic TB Sub-section launched a project to raise awareness of zoonotic TB (ZTB) among the Fulani pastoralist community in Ibarapa, in South-Western Nigeria, whose livelihood depends on their livestock. The Ibarapa Meje One Health Initiative aims to create awareness of ZTB among pastoralists, and is built on the Zoonotic TB Road Map launched last year by the World Health Organization , the World Organization for Animal Health, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, and The Union.

The Union Office in Myanmar, in collaboration with the National TB Programme, was part of a high-level meeting to mark World TB Day, with an exhibition of The Union's TB Active Case Finding Programme and Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) Programme. Games, a quiz, photo booth stand and health promotional materials with TB messages attracted around 400 participants. The Union staff and community volunteers also distributed TB Information Education Communication materials in and around project areas in Mandalay, Myanmar, to raise awareness of TB.  

Members of the Union DR Congo Office participated in events under the patronage of the First Lady of the DR Congo. The office also contributed to a meeting at the Damien Centre of Excellence on the care of MDR-TB patients, and a scientific morning organised by the National TB Programme, during which The Union shared its experience of innovative approaches to ending TB.

The TB Section of The Union called on its members to support advocacy efforts in the build up to the first ever United Nations High-Level Meeting on TB happening on 26 September 2018. In their newsletter they invited members to share thoughts on what would cause the biggest impact for TB in their countries, and then to encourage participation of all members reaching out to their political leaders to not only support the High-Level Meeting but to ensure the commitments made in September become on-the-ground activities.

The Union Zimbabwe Office partnered with the National TB Control Programme, with support from USAID Challenge TB and The Global Fund, to mark World TB Day.  A pre-event was held to share TB programme updates, reflect on the progress the country was making towards ending TB and the challenges being met. The Union Office gave a presentation on its continued support to the programme through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Challenge TB grant. At the main event on World TB Day, Minister of Health and Child Care Dr David Parirenyatwa spoke about the great strides Zimbabwe has made in combating TB; he went on to launch the updated guidelines on the management of drug-resistant TB. The Union Zimbabwe Office’s Country Director Dr Christopher Zishiri implored leadership to stand up and be agents of change, and to work more closely with the national programme to fight TB. The event was broadcast live on three of the country’s popular radio stations.

The Union South-East Asia Office, in partnership with PHD Chamber of Commerce, brought together more than 25 corporate partners in a bid to scale up efforts for TB care in India. The session, themed as UNITE to END TB, was held on 21 March in New Delhi and follows on from the Delhi End-TB Summit where Prime Minister Modi announced his vision of ending TB in India by 2025, five years ahead of global sustainable development goal target.

The Union’s TB, HIV and Tobacco Working Group continued to reach out to members with a goal to elevate the joint research agenda on tobacco use, HIV, and TB and integrate tobacco control in TB and HIV programmes. Dr Mira B Aghi, Tobacco Control Section Chair, said, “We have known for some time that tobacco use substantially increases the risk of contracting and dying from TB. It is vital that on this World TB Day, we make the point that, by controlling the tobacco epidemic, we will help control the TB epidemic. The relationship between tobacco use and TB is, in itself, a global public health problem.”

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