Close the Gap – TB and Human Rights

Posted by ARASA on July 15, 2016

Close the Gap – TB and Human Rights

“One health care worker, one facility, one patient, two diseases. Stop ping-pong: a lack of TB/HIV integration kills”

Tuberculosis (TB) remains one of the world’s deadliest communicble diseases. Tuberculosis kills more people her day, then HIV. Although TB is a preventable and treatable disease, more than 9 million people develop TB annually and 1.5 million die from this disease with many waiting to receive effective treatment. Furthermore, key populations continue to be most vulnerable to TB because of the lack of enabling legal, social and policy environment. This is unacceptable and how can we accept a disease that can be treated within in six months to continue to kill more people than HIV/AIDS. Sadly, public understanding of TB continues to be limited and, importantly, a conversation between both the HIV and TB communities have not been given sufficient attention and remain fragmented.

In a response to the need for better collaborative interventions between the co-epidemics, and in recognition of the need for greater attention to the global TB epidemic, the International AIDS Society (IAS) is co-hosting TB2016. This is a two-day pre-AIDS2016 conference that brings together human rights activists, scientists and policy makers to deliberate over TB science and policy and find strategies to strengthen current efforts on TB literary and human rights issues in society. By hosting TB 2016 ahead of AIDS 2016, the IAS hopes to take advantage of the political and media attention around each International AIDS Conference and place the fight against TB in the spotlight. AIDS 2016 is expected to draw 20 000 participants, over 1 000 journalists and significant high-level participation from around the world to Durban – the global epicenter of the TB-HIV pandemic.

A rights-based approach is key to decreasing the burden of this disease especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. There are many human rights issues that contribute to the unequal burden of TB and access to prevention, treatment and care, such as funding, drug development, patent laws, criminalisation of TB status and research and development, which need to be addressed urgently. Michaela Clayton of ARASA argues “we will never end TB without addressing the social determinants of TB. This is where ensuring human rights is essential”. ARASA and ENDA Santé will be following closely the discussions and debates that take place during TB2016. In particular, we will be advocating for the demands made in the Call to action namely:

TB and Human Rights:

  • Conduct law and policy review and reform to ensure that human rights principles are upheld
  • Monitor and evaluate proposed interventions using human rights principles
  • Advocate for the provision of legal services for people affected by TB and 
vulnerable groups
  • Advocate for and implement programmes to reduce stigma and discrimination 

Criminalisation of TB:

  • Document cases of human rights violations regarding the criminalisation of TB
  • Advocate for increased accessibility, availability, acceptability and quality of 
community-based treatment and care of TB, especially in the case of drug- 
resistant TB.
  • Advocate for the integration of drug-resistant TB into community-based work

Access to TB prevention, treatment and care:

  • Monitor funding made available for TB and HIV interventions and advocate for 
increased funding (including global and domestic funding)
  • Monitor and advocate for the implementation of TB prevention and care methods 
for people living with HIV
  • Advocate for countries to use compulsory licensing to increase the production of 
generic TB vaccines, diagnostics and treatment 

TB and Gender:

  • Advocate for commitment to address gender and TB
  • Advocate for better data collection regarding women
  • Advocate for women-centered research and development

People most affected by TB:

  • Advocate for meaningful participatory planning and engagement of key populations in addressing TB in these groups
  • Advocate for health services that are tailored to the needs of Key Populations
  • Advocate for measures to address TB in migrants to be taken at country-level
  • Advocate for the TB needs of HCW and miners to be addressed
  • Advocate for the TB needs of prisoners to be addressed 


Close the Gap: TB and Human Rights| A activist guide for Southern and East Africa

TB 2016 | View the full TB2016 programme Click Here []


The TB/HIV Care Association| TB HIV Networking Zone

When| 18-22 July 2016

Where| Global Village

The TB HIV Networking Zone will feature daily sessions, panel discussions, interactive social media campaigns, and much more.

The goals of the Networking Zone are to:

1) Increase participants' knowledge of the dual TB-HIV epidemic

2) Bridge the gap between HIV and TB communities and organisations by facilitating interaction and sharing best practices for integrated service delivery

3) Identify opportunities for communities, key affected populations, researchers, donors and policymakers to collaborate on TB-HIV research policy and programme design.