More than 60 advocates representing civil society and affected communities working in TB from 32 countries met in Bangkok on July 29th and 30th to take stock of the current TB advocacy landscape, identify opportunities for mobilization, agree on some of the key priorities for the coming year, and develop joint roadmaps and strategies in the lead-up to the Global Ministerial Meeting in Moscow in November and The UN High Level Meeting on TB next year.
Over the course of the two days, the group agreed on a set of 6 advocacy asks that will help guide their work and the thematic priorities that they hope to ensure are prevalent throughout the Global Ministerial Meeting and HLM processes. The asks identified centred around the themes of Universal Health Care (specifically access to and availability of treatment and care), Research and Development, Systems for Health, Accountability, Financing, and Key Populations, Human Rights, and Gender.
Pervasive throughout all of the panels and discussions was the expressed need to ensure that affected communities are at the heart of everything we do, as well as the need to decide on a level of ambition regarding the Global Ministerial Meeting and the HLM – do we want what’s achievable or do we want everything? There was also a strong push from those who were engaged in the HIV HLM last year to focus efforts and attention on the processes occurring in the lead-up to both meetings rather than over-emphasizing presence at the meetings themselves, as influencing the agenda, outcome documents, and interventions were identified as being the best ways to have the biggest impact.
The meeting was hosted and facilitated by the Stop TB Partnership, APCASO, and TAG, and Stop TB is already taking steps to plan future meetings to ensure ongoing engagement and involvement from civil society and affected communities as we get closer to the Global Minister Meeting and HLM.