On Thursday 24th March, the international community celebrated World TB Day. As one of the key WHO public awareness campaigns, World TB Day is an opportunity for TB stakeholders, lived-experience activists and decision-makers to raise awareness of a disease which was, as recently as 2019, the world’s deadliest infectious disease.
To celebrate World TB Day, the APPG for Global Tuberculosis organised a range of events in Parliament to draw MP’s attention to the fight to eradicate global TB.
Firstly, the APPG held a reception in Parliament to release our latest report (pictured above). The ‘Stocktake on tuberculosis’ report looks at the UK’s role in tackling both domestic and international incidences of TB. The report praised the Government for their domestic interventions which have driven TB levels in England down to their lowest levels ever. Internationally, there is much more to be done. The Government can start by making a generous pledge to the Global Fund’s upcoming seventh replenishment campaign, restoring the UK’s R&D budget and acting as a nexus for international partners who are committed to ending the TB epidemic. A copy of the report can be found here.
The reception heard from a range of stakeholders who updated Parliamentarians on the latest developments across the TB landscape. Representatives from the Global Fund made an impassioned case for the UK to make a generous pledge during the upcoming replenishment campaign. The UK is the third largest historic sovereign donor to the Global Fund and a significant contribution from the UK would encourage our friends and partners around the world to also commit generously to the replenishment. The APPG also heard from Dr Jessica Potter, Co-Chair of the UK Academics and Professionals to End TB (UKAPTB) network. Dr Potter highlighted the importance of strong domestic TB services and the need for continued improvement across the UK to keep driving levels of TB down. Dr Potter also highlighted the impact of global conflict and the war in Ukraine on the delivery of health services, particularly TB services.
To end the day, APPG Chair Virendra Sharma MP secured a debate in the UK Parliament to discuss World TB Day and the global impact of the TB epidemic. During her response to the debate, Minister Vicky Ford MP (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) announced that the UK Government would be providing £6m to TB Reach to assist their work in the detection and surveillance and TB. You can watch the World TB Day debate here, or you can read the transcript of the debate here.