In an unprecedented gesture to highlight gaps in the TB response, GCTA members from all over the world came together and held 2 freeze mobs at the The Union Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico.
On Day 1 of the Conference, GCTA members came out in strong numbers and stood still for a minute to signify the important role the members of the affected community and civil society play in the TB response. Phumeza Tisile from South Africa, an XDR-TB survivor, spoke on behalf of GCTA and said, “We are members of GCTA and the community — the TB response is incomplete without our voices. We want you to engage with us and involve us in every step.
“In continuing with the spirit of the first freeze mob, GCTA members held an impactful freeze mob at the plenary on Day 2 where a session on The Road to the UN HLM took place. Speakers at the session included Eric Goosby, UN Special Envoy on TB, Suvanand Sahu, Deputy Executive Director of Stop TB Partnership, Chief Wilton Littlechild, Civil Society Representative, (Canada), Prof Michel Kazatchkine, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (Switerland) and Dr Jeremiah Chakaya Muhwa, President of The Union (Kenya).
Blessina Kumar, CEO, spoke on behalf of the community and urged the audience to do away with exclusion. She reminded those gathered at the plenary that inclusion is the key for a successful HLM and specifically called for national governments to include affected communities and civil societies in the planning running up to the High Level Meeting (HLM) next year.
The speakers at the plenary session, including Eric Goosby, UN Special Envoy on TB, acknowledged and reiterated the need to strengthen community presence at all points of the TB response.