TB and COVID-19
The COVID-19 crisis has made our task even harder. As one leading TB doctor recently said to me, ‘if we were already scaling a mountain to end TB, it just became Everest’. But the need has not gone away. Fighting this new pandemic and fighting TB, an infectious disease which claims 1.5 million lives a year, cannot be alternatives. The quest for stronger healthcare systems, better drugs, vaccines and global health security is one that should unite us.”
Rt Hon Nick Herbert CBE, Global Co-Chair of the Global TB Caucus
TB and Covid-19 Statement of intent
On May 29th, the Executive Committee of the Global TB Caucus gathered online to discuss challenges and new directions to take in the fight against TB. Parliamentarians in the Caucus are already facing the challenges posed by COVID-19 in different ways. Many of them are directly involved in the response, due to their leadership positions on the health committees or foreign aid committees and new COVID-19 task forces, where their experience in infectious respiratory diseases has been recognised.
This meeting was the occasion to share experience, expertise and ideas, to redirect our efforts for a better and more efficient political response to TB. The meeting was concluded by the unanimous adoption of the TB and COVID-19 Statement of Intent. You can find the statement attached below in English, French, Spanish and Russian.
The impact of Covid-19 in TB services
The following briefing was adapted especially for the Global TB Caucus from the work of Professor Madhukar Pai, MD, PhD, FCAHS, Canada Research Chair in Epidemiology & Global Health, Director, McGill Global Health Programs, Director, McGill International TB Centre. We adapted our work in six languages.
Click the flag to access the briefing in the language you need.
The spread of the new coronavirus has prompted us into unprecedented times and we, as the TB community, need to rise and protect the most vulnerable in our societies.
With over 2500 members in 150 countries, the Global TB Caucus is the largest parliamentary network dedicated to infectious diseases in the world. Over the last five years, the Caucus has built a network of parliamentarians, health officials, civil society, partners, researchers, TB survivors and medical professionals who take action everyday to strengthen our health systems and improve public health infrastructures at the local, national, regional and international level. To learn more about our impact click here.
In light of the situation, the Caucus has swiftly adapted our planned activities, and our person events are currently suspended. However, in the majority of regions, we quickly saw an increase in MPs taking parliamentary actions and engagement. Examples of actions that have been taken include:
Virtual parliamentary hearings with the Minister of Health
TB budget increases
New social protection policies being rolled out
MPs sitting on or raising TB issues at Parliamentary or Government COVID-19 taskforces
Interventions being made on legislation related to COVID-19 and infectious diseases
Online meetings with MPs, NTPs and WHO experts to discuss country priorities
Online meetings held with CSO and TB survivor partners
We also recommend you consult The Union's COVID-19 and lung health toolkit, which includes resources in English, French, Spanish, Polish, Russian and Chinese (Mandarin) including: FAQs, official guidance for TB and tobacco cessation programmes throughout the COVID crisis, fast-tracked research articles and more. It is regularly updated with new languages and materials: https://www.theunion.org/news-centre/covid-19
If you would like to collaborate with the Caucus, connect with MPs or potentially support our work, please contact Sarah Kirk, Head of the Secretariat (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Please continue advocating and protecting people affected by TB, and stay home to limit the contagion of the coronavirus.