Round up of Day 3 at The Union Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico

The Conference was brimming with activity and GCTA was on top of things, ensuring that the voice of the community gets heard at every possible opportunity. And Day 3 was filled with important events and opportunities.

In an India-specific event, Rhea Lobo, Communications Officer, gave a talk on public-private partnership for sustainable development in healthcare during a session titled ‘Accelerating TB Elimination: Governance Architecture for Urban Health Care’. During her talk, she launched for the first time a film she made featuring TB Survivors from India, called End the Taboo – End TB. In her address, she said that the most important private player is the community – but the question we need to ask ourselves is how do we foster a public-private partnership if the community is silent or has been silenced? She requested everyone who is involved in the TB response to create an environment that would be conducive for members of the affected community to be heard. In her talk, she also urged stakeholders to take the community’s help to discuss specifics – on plugging the holes that lead to diagnostic delays, among other challenges.

There were also some crucial sessions that Blessina Kumar, CEO, was the moderator for on Day 3 – sessions such as Power of Community Engagement in Research and Beyond: A Myth or Reality and Accelerating Research and Development of New TB Vaccines.

As chair of the first session, Blessina reminded the audience that it has not been an easy journey to set up CABS and it requires a whole lot of courage to do so. She proudly stated that the community has come a long way with 11 Stream CABS being set up in various countries such as South Africa, Mongolia, Georgia, Ethiopia, Uganda, India and Moldova. Stream CABS benefits the community and serves as an opportunity for patients to get shorter regimens. It also brings about changes in health policies. As chair of the Vaccine Symposium, Blessina reminded the audience that vaccines play a very important role in the TB response — as long as there is no new vaccine for TB, we can never end TB.

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