In June 2022, WHO’s Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus held a dialogue with WHO’s Civil Society Task Force on Tuberculosis (CSTF-TB) in Geneva, Switzerland.
The dialogue was followed by an online town hall with civil society and affected communities on priorities for the CSTF-TB and its engagement with the broader civil society and affected communities working on TB.
Recognizing the importance of the 2023 United Nations General Assembly High-level Meeting on TB (2023 UNHLM on TB) in fostering high-level political will, enhancing collaboration, mobilizing resources for people-centered services for TB-affected individuals, households and communities, CSTF-TB requested WHO to take the lead in leveraging the multistakeholder taskforce to set collective priorities in preparations for the 2023 UNHLM on TB.
In this joint statement, the WHO Director-General and CSTF-TB commit to:
· Foster partnerships and synergies between WHO, United Nations agencies, partners, donors and other stakeholders for strengthened multisectoral engagement at the 2023 UNHLM on TB, as well as for ambitious priority-setting in countries;
· Support preparations for the 2023 UN High Level Meeting on TB through WHO’s multisectoral and multistakeholder taskforce on ending TB in close partnership with CSTF-TB, to facilitate more meaningful engagement of civil society and TB-affected communities in the meeting;
· Support the rapid adoption of WHO guidelines at country level to increase access to the best evidence-based interventions for people and communities affected by TB, including prevention, detection and treatment of people with TB and related comorbidities, with the involvement of civil society and affected communities.
Thus, CSTF-TB urges governments, partners, and stakeholders to take immediate action to:
· Ensure multisectoral consultations involving the highest level of policy makers in preparation of the 2023 UNHLM on TB with inclusion of civil society, TB-affected community and sectors beyond health in each country;
· Identify and document successes and lessons learnt on the multisectoral collaboration and accountability to end TB in countries, in order to inform strategic action to further strengthen multisectoral engagement to end TB;
· Mobilize funding for the meaningful engagement of civil society and TB-affected communities in preparations for the 2023 UNHLM on TB, as well as for participation in country delegations;
· Mobilize funding for the development of new TB vaccines, including meaningful community engagement throughout the process including trial design, implementation, evaluation and community preparedness;
· Facilitate strong engagement of all stakeholders, including relevant UN agencies in the preparations for the 2023 UNHLM on TB at country level;
· Ensure that the 2023 UNHLM on TB has co-facilitators representing TB low-burden and TB high-burden countries, encouraging an African country to take on a co-facilitating role.
The members of WHO’s Civil Society Task Force on TB committed to actively work in close collaboration with WHO and all stakeholders to support WHO member states to advance multisectoral and multistakeholder action in preparation for the 2023 UNHLM on TB and get progress to end TB back on track through increased political commitment and accountability.