The Union

Global TB Summit: Day One

Global TB Summit: Day One

Noone is immune from TB

Sunday's session of the Global TB Summit began with 48 parliamentarians considering – and debating – the current status of the fight against TB.  Who was making headway, where there was work to do and hearts and minds to be won.  The Plenary was chaired by Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, South African Health Minister and Chairperson of the Stop TB Partnership, with main speaker Dr Mario Raviglione, Director of the WHO Global TB Programme.

The MPs were then given the opportunity to visit Brooklyn Chest Hospital, a Cape Town clinic specialising in the treatment of tuberculosis, particularly extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB).  Also on the agenda was a visit to Pollsmoor Prison on the outskirts of the city, a facility that has benefited from the recently introduced policy of regular TB screening for all inmates in South African prisons.

Said the Hon Stephen Mule MP (Kenya): “Noone is immune from TB.  These trips show us the realities facing those people who are involved in the fight against TB, as a patient or as a doctor, sometimes as both.”

In an address to MPs before the Gala Reception, the Rt Hon Nick Herbert MP said, “I believe in the effectiveness of parliamentary action.  I realise that a commitment to striking out TB is just one of the things you are doing but it is a great thing and we must do this.  By raising the profile of this terrible disease firstly within our own governments, by extension we raise awareness within all our respective countries.”

Speakers at the Gala Reception – themed ‘How Will I Know? Knowing Starts With Getting Screened For TB’ – included Dr Motsoaledi; Dr Raviglione and Mr Herbert, as well as Lord O’Neill, Chairman of the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance; Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Secretary for the Stop TB Partnership; and Mr Doo-Hyun Kim, Chairman of the Kochon Foundation.   One of the evening’s highlights was the vibrant performance from the Buyelekhaya Community Dance Group.