Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), has called for collaborative efforts between communities and the health system to bring Tuberculosis (TB) under control. Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, he highlighted that community empowerment is an essential process that can help to make TB a policy priority.
The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, universal health coverage, and primary healthcare agendas all recognize the importance of community engagement in tackling TB. To support these efforts, the WHO has launched a new initiative called the DG Flagship Initiative to End TB.
WHO estimates that around 40% of the 10.6 million people living with TB do not have access to the necessary healthcare services. The COVID-19 pandemic and conflicts in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East have further impeded efforts to control TB. Therefore, working with affected communities and civil society is crucial in fighting this deadly disease.
On World TB Day, WHO launched the Flagship Initiative to End TB, which aims to support progress towards ending TB in the next four years. This initiative will also promote research and innovation for new vaccines.
WHO Civil Society Task Force on TB has been working to bring the voices of TB-affected communities and civil society to the WHO’s work. WHO will soon publish new guidance on community engagement to end TB.