The Americas TB Caucus goes online
Considering the current world crisis due to Covid-19, the Americas TB Caucus leadership agreed to hold an online meeting to discuss political strategies to address the situation and the impact it will have on the TB epidemic. Hon Gisela Scaglia, Hon Luz Salgado, Hon Luis Gallo and Hon Claudio Marte, co-chairs of the Americas TB Caucus, met last Wednesday with the Global TB Caucus secretariat and agreed on several actions to take for the next weeks.
First of all, all agreed that for now, it is time to focus on solidarity and use the network we have established as well as our influence for the sake of the current pandemic crises we are facing. However, it is essential to keep on providing TB services without any disturbance and ensure people affected by TB are not left behind.
In order to do that, the Americas TB Caucus will take various measures. Co-chairs and secretariat will work together to coordinate a call with PAHO and members of the Americas TB Caucus around TB and Covid in the region. Showing unity and solidarity is a very important first step to take. Hon Claudio Marte will arrange a similar call with members of PARLACEN and Ministers of Health from Central America. All co-chairs agreed to send a joint letter to Ministers of Health in the region offering their voices to support in the Covid-19 response, and also remembering the importance of strong health systems with budgets allocated to pandemic preparedness. Co-chairs also agreed to work on providing inputs from the TB experience to address stigma, in order to decrease the covid-19 prejudice around people who are tested positive.
The impact that Covid-19 is having on our globalized world is unprecedented and touches all sectors and levels. The impact Covid-19 will have on people affected by TB is still uncertain, but one thing is sure, by limiting the spread of Covid-19, we protect people affected by TB. The Americas TB Caucus is deeply engaged in protecting people affected by TB, and will do everything in its power to strengthen the response to TB and other infectious diseases.
Since then, the Americas TB Caucus members have also met and committed to joining efforts to end TB and COVID in the region.