NOVEMBER 16, 2012 – Activists from around the world called for zero TB deaths in the first ever civil society declaration on tuberculosis, presented today to delegates at the Union World Conference on Lung Health in Malaysia.
Drafted by civil society advocates, The Kuala Lumpur Declaration on TB Civil Society Participation spells out the values, principles, and demands that will guide advocacy efforts towards the ultimate goal of zero TB deaths and zero new TB infections.
“That an ancient disease still kills over a million people every a year is a disgrace. Outrage over a lack of ambition from our leaders on TB has finally spilled over, and activists have joined together in this unprecedented show of unity to demand action on ambitious goals,” said Kolleen Bouchane, ACTION Director.
To sign on, email KLZerodeclaration@gmail.com with your name, organizational affiliation (if any), city and country of residence and email address.
The text of the declaration is below:
The Kuala Lumpur Civil Society Declaration on Tuberculosis
ZERO TB DEATHS
Statement from TB civil society representatives presented at the 2012 UNION World Conference
We, the undersigned tuberculosis (TB) civil society representatives, community members and our supporters, recognize that we are at a pivotal moment in our battle to stop the deadly spread of TB around the world. Policy and science are aligned as never before making it possible to envision an end to the TB epidemic in our lifetimes. We are committed to doing whatever it takes to lead the movement for ZERO TB deaths and this declaration codifies the values, principles and demands that will guide our civil society advocacy efforts as we progress towards our goal.
The international community's neglect of the TB pandemic must end. Every country in the world has the potential to reach ZERO TB deaths. Those that stand in the way of this goal have blood on their hands. TB affects and kills millions every year and impoverishes and degrades the lives of countless more. This suffering and death occurs despite the fact that TB is preventable and can be cured with access to lifesaving TB prevention strategies, diagnostic tools and treatments. We are not satisfied with the two-tiered system where the rich can access life-saving TB care and treatment while the poor are doomed to suffering and death. We do not accept the deaths of countless adults and children who die of TB in the 21st century, from a disease that has been preventable and curable since the late 1940's. Ending this pandemic and providing the health care needs of those affected by TB and TB/HIV is a core responsibility of governments, bilateral and multilateral donors, non-governmental organizations and civil society representatives.
We must collectively commit to the goal of ZERO TB deaths and ZERO new TB infections NOW!
The text of the declaration is below:
As civil society leaders, we will work individually and together, at regional, national and multilateral levels, on the efforts outlined below:
- We will hold political leaders and decision-makers accountable (including those at WHO, Global Fund, PEPFAR, UNITAID, Ministries of Health, Ministers of Finance and National TB control programs) to immediately accelerate efforts to achieve ZERO TB deaths. We demand that short-term TB elimination targets be included in national, regional and multilateral health frameworks, strategies, institutions and initiatives. We will no longer accept nor allow decision makers to celebrate the realization of partial goals, low achievement and inadequate strategies for reducing TB deaths. We demand nothing short ofZERO TB deaths and ZERO new TB infections NOW!
- We will accept nothing less than full TB civil society participation and representation in all aspects of strategy development, targets and goal setting initiatives, funding decisions and implementation plans both at the country and global levels. Civil society must be included in all forums with equal status of other participants, to share our first-hand experiences and knowledge. We insist on the active support and engagement of TB civil society representatives and affected community members, so that we can participate in discussions and decisions, fully communicate our goals and strategies to our grassroots and affected communities and support bold actions.
- We will uphold full respect for human rights of people affected by TB, and promote human rights-based approaches to TB prevention, treatment and care. This principle promotes a people-centered care model and recognizes the right of every person to be informed and empowered about TB and ensured access to prevention, treatment and ethical care options with ZERO stigma and suffering. We will continue to work with other stakeholders that are addressing social-economic and structural factors that will end TB related suffering and poverty and improve people's lives.
- We demand equal access to quality, affordable and integrated health care with universal access to TB specific diagnostics, drug-susceptibility testing, appropriate treatment and cure options and quality service delivery. We will continue to amplify our voices for greater TB and TB/HIV funding from our bilateral, multilateral and national partners for programmatic and civil society advocacy initiatives as well as for increased investment in TB research and development for better diagnostics, faster and more tolerable therapies and a more effective vaccine.