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World TB Day Joint Statement: Urgent Call for Gender Inclusive TB Response

On this TB International Day, W4GF underscores the critical need to address the pervasive gender disparities in accessing TB services, especially among women and girls in all of their diversity. Gender must be prioritised in our efforts to combat TB, especially considering the setback caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has witnessed a surge in TB-related deaths not seen in over a decade. It’s crucial to cultivate the political will to ensure gender-inclusive and community-centred TB responses.

As Women4GlobalFund alongside the TB Coalition of the Americas, the TB Social Observatory, and the Global Coalition of TB Advocates, we remain vigilant that governments meet the goals and objectives of the World Health Organization’s End TB Strategy, the target 3.3 to end TB by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals and to comply with the commitments agreed at the second United Nations High-Level Meeting on TB 2023.

As We push for gender-transformative approaches, including fully funding the Global Fund, we call on governments and international bodies to move beyond rhetoric and translate commitments into actionable priorities:

  1. There is a need to align TB response efforts with the UN Political Declaration, emphasizing gender-sensitive and transformative, women-led approaches and ensuring the active engagement of civil society and affected communities.
  2. We advocate for increased investment in women-led organizations and initiatives focused on marginalized communities, particularly in informal settlements, remote and hard to reach areas, to address the gender disparities in TB prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
  3. We advocate for patent suspensions, robust research and development funding, and price controls to ensure equitable access to TB healthcare and commodities.
  4. We must strengthen legal and social policy frameworks to combat inequalities and eliminate stigma, addressing the underlying socioeconomic, legal, and cultural factors that contribute to gender disparities in TB.
  5. We urge Member States to commit to increasing funding for TB programs, including support for innovative financing mechanisms proposed by the Global Fund. Additionally, scaling up access to new tools and innovations, such as diagnostic tools and treatment regimens, is essential to accelerate progress towards ending TB by 2030.
  6. W4GF emphasises the critical role of civil society and communities in advocating for TB awareness and ensuring that global commitments translate into tangible results.
  7. The Global Plan to End TB for 2023-2030 provides a clear roadmap for action, yet current funding needs to catch up to what is required. The Global Fund’s efforts to mobilise funding from various sources are commendable, but additional resources are imperative to close the funding gap.
  8. W4GF supports calls for increased domestic resources for TB and encourages innovative finance initiatives to fund TB programs in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
  9. We emphasise the integral role of universal health coverage (UHC) in ensuring equitable access to TB healthcare and commodities for all, irrespective of gender or socioeconomic status. We recommend governments and international bodies prioritise UHC as a cornerstone of TB response strategies, integrating gender-sensitive approaches to address the specific needs of women and girls. Investing in UHC directed to eliminate gender structural barriers is imperative.

To end TB, we must address gender inequalities. W4GF will remain vigilant that actions are being implemented as we move towards gender-transformative TB responses.