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Opinion Pieces Discuss Efforts Needed To End TB

Medium: No ribbons, no marches, no Santana
David Bryden, TB advocacy officer at RESULTS

“…A new organization is trying to end the ignorance about TB and bring it out of the shadows. It is called We Are TB, led by TB survivors themselves, who volunteer their time to raise awareness and call for action. These former patients and family members, drawn from a variety of backgrounds and from all over the U.S., are speaking out in their communities about their experience, to break down myths and provide accurate information. … [This] week, a small group of members of We Are TB will come to Capitol Hill to lobby Congress about the need for more federal support for TB programs in the U.S. and around the world, including the need for much greater spending to develop a vaccine for TB, more reliable diagnostics, and faster-acting treatments. … If we are serious about ending this disease, we must lend our voice … so … World TB Day becomes a day for everyone to remember” (3/22).

STAT: Ending tuberculosis: we can get there with a new roadmap
Robert W. Eisinger, special assistant for scientific projects in the Office of the Director at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and Anthony S. Fauci, director of the NIAID

“…The Lancet Commission has set the goal of achieving a TB-free world within a generation. That will require an intense and concentrated effort at all levels: local, regional, national, and global. … By strengthening collaborative efforts among partners in communities, academia, industry, government, and public health, we can move from an aspirational goal to realistic advances that ameliorate the devastating suffering and economic costs of TB. The pathway to ending TB — a disease that is preventable, treatable, and curable — is clear. But the time to act is now” (3/24).

The Conversation: Major battles have been won against TB. But the war isn’t over
Bavesh Kana, head of the Centre of Excellence for Biomedical TB Research at the University of the Witwatersrand

“…All nations, especially TB endemic countries, need to take up the call for action laid out in the U.N. declaration. But the world won’t simply treat its way out of the epidemic with antibiotics. Interrupting transmission, developing a vaccine, protecting vulnerable populations, developing new diagnostics and better treatment regimens are all required for controlling the epidemic. Innovative and cost-effective diagnostic and case finding approaches are desperately needed to strengthen health care systems together with more investment in research and development. Finally, we all need to advocate for more resources and better patient support. TB is everyone’s problem — not just the poor and forgotten” (3/20).

STAT: India should heed a teenager’s historic fight for lifesaving tuberculosis treatment
Stephen Lewis, co-director of AIDS-Free World, and Jennifer J. Furin, lecturer on global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School

“…India has … proclaimed that it will eliminate TB by 2025. But the government continues to erect needless bureaucratic barriers between desperately ill individuals with drug-resistant TB and the medications that could restore their health. Fewer than 1,500 patients in India, just over one percent of those with drug-resistant TB, are receiving bedaquiline. … Sadly, it isn’t alone in withholding bedaquiline to those who need it: Nigeria, Ukraine, Indonesia, and Latin American countries [are] doing the same thing. … India and other governments [should be called upon] to provide the same humane, effective treatment to their citizens trapped in mortal struggles with drug-resistant TB that is saving lives elsewhere in the world” (3/24).