July 19, 2016 — ACTION released a new report today that highlights the persistent need to coordinate an integrated response to the deadly duo of TB-HIV co-infections if additional progress is to be made against either disease.
The report, From Policy to Practice: How the TB-HIV Response is Working, builds on ACTION’s previous research on this issue, compiled in the 2014 report, From Rhetoric to Reality. The new analysis shows that while countries have taken steps in the right direction since 2014, policy improvements have not all translated into changes at the facility level. In addition, most of the burden to support key TB-HIV activities still falls heavily on under-resourced TB programs.
"ACTION’s research will allow the international community to identify good practices, lessons learned, and key challenges in order to achieve an effective response to this serious public health threat," said Awa Marie Coll Seck, Senegal's Minister of Health and Social Action.
The report recommends that governments of high-burden countries develop joint national TB and HIV strategic plans, as well as scale up investments in underfunded TB programs. It also urges governments, donor agencies, civil society, and the private sector to work together to address key gaps and develop the appropriate tools to prevent, diagnose, and treat HIV-associated TB.
"People are living with HIV but dying of TB more than ever before, yet many of these deaths are entirely preventable. Donors and high-burden countries can save thousands of lives every year by implementing and funding integrated programs for the two diseases," said Nick Herbert, co-chair of the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global TB and the Global TB Caucus.
"From Policy to Practice takes a timely look at the progress being made to tackle the twin epidemics of TB and HIV and the answer is clear: not enough. We know what needs to be done and now governments must do it," he said.
At the report launch at the International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, Mandy Slutsker, the ACTION Secretariat’s policy and advocacy manager, said that its findings demonstrate the need for the TB and HIV communities to come together.
"Until now, the burden of fighting TB-HIV co-infection has mostly fallen on under-resourced TB programs, which is inefficient.” Slutsker said. “It is absolutely essential that the TB and HIV communities join forces, pool resources, and work together to combat this deadly duo. We have an opportunity to make sure that TB is not a death sentence for people living with HIV—let’s seize this moment."
ACTION is a partnership of 12 locally rooted organizations around the world that advocate together to build political will and increase investments for global health. Our partners: Æquitas (India), CITAM+ (Zambia), Global Health Advocates France, Global Health Advocates India, Kenya AIDS NGOs Consortium, Princess of Africa Foundation (South Africa), RESULTS Australia, RESULTS Canada, RESULTS Japan, RESULTS Educational Fund (US), RESULTS UK, WACI Health.