On the evening of 8 November 2007, about 5,000 people marched through the streets of Cape Town at the onset of the 38th Annual Union World Conference on Lung Health to demand better TB education, prevention, treatments and cures. A global call was handed over to the organisers of the conference. The march was a joint initiative of the Treatment Action Campaign and the AIDS & Rights Alliance of Southern Africa.
The 38th Annual Union World Conference on Lung Health is being held in Cape Town on the 8-12 November 2007. It is the first time in its 125-year history that the conference will be held outside of the northern hemisphere. This is important as Southern Africa is experiencing an extremely large and deadly TB epidemic, fuelled by a HIV epidemic. The response has been inadequate; new infections and needless deaths continue unabated.
We call on the delegates to adopt a Global Call for Action and Declaration on TB:
1. Every year TB kills more than 2 million people worldwide. In Southern Africa it is by far the greatest killer of people living with HIV.
2. In South Africa, over 70,000 death certificates recorded TB as a cause of death in 2005.
3. Despite regional governments declaring an emergency in 2005, TB control and AIDS programmes in Southern Africa are failing to adequately deal with the twin epidemics of TB and HIV.
4. This inadequate response is no longer acceptable.
5. Current diagnostic techniques and drugs are out-of-date; we need simpler, more effective and accessible tools for testing and treating TB.
6. TB prevention, care and treatment programmes must adopt a decentralized, patient-centred approach with treatment literacy, adherence support and community education.
7. More resources for TB research are desperately needed.
8. Provision of a decent public health system that is based on the right of every person to life, dignity, health and equality is the duty of every state and the advocacy work of every HIV/TB activist.
9. Access to decent housing, employment, social security and nutrition are indispensable to the elimination of tuberculosis.
10. The TB crisis has caused tremendous suffering and generated confusion, fear and stigma. Protecting public health is not incompatible with promoting a human-rights approach to dealing with this contagious epidemic. It requires a plan and community consultation not repressive measures against individuals.
11. Support services for health professionals and allied workers engaged in saving the lives of people living with TB must be researched and funded immediately.
12. This conference must serve as a platform for consensus on key issues related to the treatment, prevention and care of TB, including MDR and XDR TB. We must review and update our national TB and HIV plans and through partnerships commit the necessary resources to begin implementing the following key areas for action:
Improving infection control
Getting more people living with HIV tested for TB and people infected with TB tested for HIV
Integrating and decentralizing TB and HIV services
Preventing and treating drug resistant TB (MDR/XDR TB)
We demand vision, research, funding, action and activism on TB/HIV and the crisis in public health now!
Agency for Cooperation and Research in Development Kenya
Africa Japan Forum Japan
African Civil Society Coalition on HIV and AIDS Nigeria
African Services Committee USA
AIDS Action Baltimore USA
AIDS Care Watch Campaign Japan
AIDS Institute USA
Association morocaine du lutte contrele SIDA Morocco
American Medical Students Association Africa Action, USA
AIDS Rights Alliance of Southern Africa Namibia
Artists for a New South Africa, USA
Asia Pacific Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS Malaysia
Batanai HIV/AIDS Support Group Zimbabwe
Botswana Network on Ethics Law and HIV and AIDS Botswana
Canadian HIV and AIDS Legal Network Canada
Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project USA
Dignitas International- Canada
Economic Justice Network
Estonia Society for Positive People Estonia
European Aids Treatment Group Belgium
Cameron Psychology Association FOCAP Cameron
Gay And Lesbians of Zimbabwe
Health Global Access Project USA
Global Health Advocates Switzerland
Global Justice USA
Health Connection International USA
HIV Medicines Association USA
HIV/AIDS Task Force Japan Forum Japan
Humanity for Orphans, Youth and Widows Initiatives Kenya
i-BASE United Kingdom
African Council of AIDS Support Organisations Senegal
International Foundation for Alternative Research in AIDS USA
Kenya Treatment Access Movement Kenya
Lebanese AIDS Society- Lebanon
Loving Hand- Zimbabwe
Mother Africa and Child Care Organisation Ghana
Médecins Sans Frontieres
Dr. Michel Kazatchikine, CEO, Global Fund
National Council of Disabled People of Zimbabwe
National Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Rwanda
Panos Southern Africa, Zambia
Pan African Treatment Access Movement Morocco
Asian Peoples Alliance to Combat HIV/AIDS Malaysia
Pinoy Plus Association Inc. Philippines
Positive Action Foundation Philippines Inc.
Positive Families Network, USA
Positive Malaysian Malaysia
Project Inform USA
Project Ring Japan AIDS and Society Association Japan
SA Development Fund, USA
Southern African AIDS Information Dissemination Services Zimbabwe
Southern Africa Treatment Access Movement Zimbabwe
Stamp Out Poverty United Kingdom
Student Global AIDS Campaign USA
Tanzania Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS Tanzania
TB Patients Support Self Help Group Kenya
The Centre Zimbabwe
Universities Allied for Essential Medicines Canada
Women AIDS Support Network Zimbabwe
World Aids Campaign Netherlands
Zimbabwe Activists on HIV and AIDS Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe National Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe Network of Positive Women Zimbabwe
Endorsements from South African Organisations
AIDS Law Project
Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa
Economic Justice Network
Ekuphumeline ZION Church
Habonim Dror Southern Africa
Rape Crisis Centre – Khayelitsha
Sonke Gender Justice
South African Council of Churches
TB Care Association
Treatment Action Campaign
Zibonele Radio Station