India: Civil Society Representatives and Community Partners meet in Delhi
On the 27 Th of June 2019, in New Delhi, the Global TB Caucus hosted a meeting of key CSO partners engaged in Parliamentary advocacy around TB. Participants at the meeting used the opportunity to plan for next steps in engaging with Parliamentarians in the national post-UN High Level Meeting (UN HLM) and post-election landscape. Representatives from the Centre for Legislative Research and Advocacy (CLRA), the Global Coalition of TB Activists (GCTA), the Global Fund Advocates Network (GFAN) India Working Group, the Global Fund, Global Health Strategies (GHS), the Indian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development The Union (IAPPD), the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), the India HIV/AIDS Alliance, PRS Legislative Research, REACH, and The Union were present and participated in the discussion.
General elections being held between 11 April and 19 May this year provided a unique opportunity to bring together key CSO and Community partners invested in the Political response to TB in India. Ensuring strong working relationships with and between all partners is essential to maintaining the high level of political commitment that is necessary to enable Members of Parliament to hold the government to account against their commitments.
India has the highest TB burden in the world and was home to over one quarter of all new infections and deaths in 2017. Each year India loses over 420,000 people to TB. It is also the second most populated country in the world, with over 1.3 billion people and a vast cultural, social and economic diversity within the sub-continent under one governance.
As a signatory to the UN HLM Declaration, India is committed to achieving the targets articulated therein. In order to achieve these targets, a sustainable political response to TB in India will be essential. Over the past years, the Indian government has shown strong commitment to fight the national TB epidemic. In March 2017, Prime Minister Modi announced that India would end TB by 2025, 5 years before the global target. In addition, India is a key member of various multilateral agencies, including the G20, BRICS, the Asian Development Bank, the World Trade Organization, the G-77, and the International Monetary Fund.
Over the course of the meeting, partners presented their work thus far in engaging elected representatives, and proceeded to work in groups to map up-coming opportunities and the distribution of responsibility for the coming months. Technical sessions on the global work of the Global TB Caucus, the UN High Level Meeting on TB and the composition and history of the India Parliament were conducted in order to build context around TB advocacy plans and priorities. The meeting concluded with participants agreeing on a work plan and action framework that will guide coordination and collective action for the coming months. A representative coordination group was also formed and has been tasked with the finalisation and monitoring of the outcomes agreed upon.
Taking into consideration the magnitude of diversity and the varied advocacy needs and priorities that exist across the sub-continent, the collectivised action taken by key India CSO and Community partners will be central to ensuring that targets are met. And in ensuring that India, with the highest burden of TB in the world, gets back on track towards eliminating TB, these partners will contribute to the global movement to End TB by 2030.