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  TB march in Cape Town, November 2007  

Reversing the Epidemic by Including Individuals Living with and
Affected by Tuberculosis in Efforts to Eliminate TB

We, the Tuberculosis (TB) PhotoVoice participants at the 38th UNION WORLD CONFERENCE ON LUNG HEALTH in Cape Town, South Africa note the toll that tuberculosis places on individuals, communities, and society.  Believing that together we can eliminate TB, we call on all global leaders, governments, policy and decision makers, advocates, and communities at large to support and champion this call to action.  This Call for Action consists of three different and complementary aspects requiring your commitment to action.

First, the elimination of tuberculosis requires increase visibility of persons affected by TB, their stories, lives, worries, concerns, vulnerabilities, and aspirations.  This requires increasing visibility of the social, economic, and cultural determinants of TB in the context of poverty and disparities, and the human face of TB, beyond the micro bacteria and the medical treatment.  We believe that TB in and of itself does not kill the person. Rather, long-term disability and death is caused by the lack of access to timely and quality DOTS treatments, lack of humane support services, stigma, discrimination, and negligence.  TB is preventable, treatable, and curable.

Second, the elimination of tuberculosis requires inclusion, parity, and the participation of persons affected by TB across all levels of endeavors. The active participation of patients in the treatment and care decisions is essential for the elimination of tuberculosis. Patients require patient-centered care that focuses on the person and not just on the disease requiring the involvement of the patient’s support network.  Treatment for TB should not end with the 6, 9, 12, or 18+ months to complete medication. A commitment should be made to assist the person to re-establish their life beyond completion of treatment for TB.

Third, the elimination of tuberculosis requires sustainable and permanent lines of funding through efficient distribution mechanisms.  Community based organizations and Non- Governmental Organizations need support to provide individual, group, and community interventions that strengthen the support systems of persons affected by TB. 

Efforts must be funded that enhance the ability of individuals to advocate for their autonomous needs, as demonstrated by innovative projects like the TB PhotoVoice Project.  Representation of individuals and communities affected by TB must participate in funded information, education, and advocacy campaigns. 

Funding efforts are needed to support health promotion and protection initiatives that focus on leadership, advocacy, communication, and social mobilization of health personnel, workers, and communities affected by TB.  Funding efforts must commit to protect globally poor and vulnerable populations from TB, TB/HIV, MDR, and XDR-TB.  Global funding must guarantee universal access to vaccines; timely and accurate diagnosis and universal DOT+ as the cornerstones of the fight to eliminate TB. 

Recognizing the task ahead and the technical, operational, and financial resources that this will entail, we call upon governments, policy and decision makers, leaders, practitioners, advocates, and communities at large to support and champion this Call for Action.  We are asking you to champion the efforts to include individuals affected by TB be visible and equal-partners in the fight to eliminate tuberculosis. Elimination will only be possible with your commitment to advocate for sustainable and permanent funding.


TB PhotoVoice Project

  • TBPV Thailand: Denchai Narai (Coordinator: Kaewta Sangsuk)
  • TBPV U.S.-Mexico Border: Rachel Orduño (Coordinator: Eva M. Moya)
  • TBPV Brazil: Rita de Cassia (Coordinator: Carlos Basilia)
  • TBPV South Carolina: Oday Williams and Richard Nichols
    (Coordinators: Joe Kinney, Margaret Patterson, Pam Collins, and Dr. Ana López-DeFede)

Global TB Experts and Decision Makers

  • Hon. Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, Member of Parliament, South Africa
  • Dr. Mario Raviglione, World Health Organization, Director of Stop TB Department
  • Glenn Thomas, World Health Organization, Stop TB Department, Communications Officer
  • Dr. Thelma E. Tupasi, President, Tropical Disease Foundation based in the Philippines, Former Chair, MDR-TB Working Group, STOP TB Partnership
  • Paul Sommersfeld, Stop TB Partnership Advocacy and Communications Workgroup, Chair
  • Kenneth G. Castro, MD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Director Division of TB Elimination and Representative from Treatment Action Group
  • Evaline Kibuchi, The Action Project (Advocacy to Control TB Internationally) Kenya
  • Arq. Darío Abarca, Director Huella, Ecuador
  • Romel S. Lacson, Amaya-Lacson TBPV Project Director


Dr.Ana López-DeFede, University of South Carolina, Institute for Families in Society

This Call to Action to Eliminate TB was created by the PhotoVoice participants from the four different world projects and presented to international tuberculosis experts and decision makers during the “Tuberculosis Through the Eyes and Voices of Patients around the World” panel discussion in the community of Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa on November 11, 2007.

2 January 2008