The United Kingdom's All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Global Tuberculosis was established in 2006 by three Members of Parliament: Andrew George (Liberal Democrat - St Ives and Isles of Scilly), Nick Herbert (Conservative - Arundel and South Downs) and Julie Morgan (Labour - Cardiff North).
The overall purpose of the APPG is to raise the profile of the global tuberculosis epidemic (which includes the growing incidence of TB in the UK) and to help accelerate efforts to meet international TB control targets. The group is currently (2012) chaired by co-founder Andrew George MP.
The APPG formed as a result of a Parliamentary delegation trip to Kenya in September 2005 that ACTION partner RESULTS UK organized. While in Kenya, the APPG founding members went on site visits to a number of TB and TB-HIV programs and were given opportunities to discuss issues in great detail directly with patients, health workers, NGOs, the Kenyan Ministry of Health and representatives from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) in Kenya. Upon returning to the UK, the three Members of Parliament launched the APPG on Global TB.
Since the group was formed six years ago there has been significant progress in efforts to tackle TB. The number of people infected with active forms of TB and dying from the disease has decreased globally and there has been a renewed focus on R&D into new vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics that are fundamental to tackle the disease.
Despite this progress, TB continues to kill 3,800 people every day. That is almost 3 people every minute for a disease that can be treated with a course of antibiotics. Rates of TB are also now rapidly increasing in the UK and there are now more new cases of TB each year than new cases of HIV.
In spite of the obvious challenges we face, the message is clear. We are beginning to build momentum and get on the front foot in the fight against the disease. Now is the time to step up our efforts, only then will lives that are needlessly lost, be saved—and the APPG has a key role to play.
Speaking about the work of the Group Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director, Stop TB Partnership said:
“It has been a pleasure working with the APPG on Global TB. It is a key partner in the fight against TB, particularly as the UK plays a leading role on development. I recently spoke at an event on TB/HIV integration attended by 35 parliamentarians from 15 different countries and have personally seen the impact this group can have. Delegates agreed to go back to their respective countries and ensure the key messages were taken on by their governments. The convening power and expertise of the APPG were fundamental to the event's success. It is crucial the group continues to have the capacity to carry out similar high- impact activities in the future.”
Delegations organised by ACTION partner RESULTS UK continue to be a key component of the work of the APPG in engaging members of Parliament on the importance of addressing TB and demonstrating the impact UK taxpayers money is having in the response. The APPG provides an important vehicle for parliamentarians following delegations, which often create TB champions, to sustain and focus their commitment, as well as highlighting how they can have a huge impact on the fight against TB particularly through the Departments for International Development (DFID) and Health (DH).
An active and engaged APPG is an important component to ensuring the UK Government is continuing to be at the forefront of combating the disease. The APPG secretariat is hosted by ACTION partner RESULTS UK.Meet more Champions