Step Up for TB 2020 Activist Toolkit Stop TB Partnership and Médecins Sans Frontières


Tuberculosis (TB) is the world’s deadliest infectious disease and kills 1.4 million people a year. The latest diagnostic tests can rapidly and accurately diagnose TB. New medicines can help prevent and cure TB. Yet people are still dying from a disease that's been curable for decades.

While the world mobilizes to fight COVID-19, governments have an opportunity to scale up their TB response. COVID-19 is exacerbating inequalities, making it even more important to reach people with life-saving TB prevention and treatment.

Step Up for TB 2020, a report by the Stop TB Partnership and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), surveyed 37 countries and found that many use outdated and ineffective practices, policies, and tools to diagnose and treat TB. This Activist Toolkit contains key messages, social media tools, template letters, and other materials for us to raise our voices and tell leaders that it’s time to #stepupforTB

Step Up for TB 2020 Report

Step Up for TB 2020 summarises the findings of the 4th survey of national TB policies in the Step Up for TB series. This edition presents data on 37 countries, assessing the extent to which national policies align with international best practices based on World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines and the latest scientific research. The survey examined policies related to diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and medicines procurement.

The results show that not enough countries are stepping up to update their national policies following the issuance of new WHO guidelines. Innovative products take years to reach the people who need them, reducing their impact. As a result, achievable global goals to reduce unnecessary sickness and death, and halt the spread of TB, remain unmet.

Click here to download the full Step Up for TB report.

Our World TB Day Target

The Stop TB Partnership, MSF, and the global TB community call on all countries to update, implement, and fully finance their TB policies, bringing them in line with international guidelines in time for World TB Day on 24 March 2021.

Join our campaign by using the materials in this toolkit to ask political leaders to step up to achieve this goal. As committed activists, we are asking you to:

  1. Write to decision-makers to raise their awareness of outdated policies;
  2. Demand action, monitor progress, and hold governments accountable; and
  3. Promote and proactively engage in policy update processes

Quick Actions: Have just a minute? Here are some quick actions you can take.

Template Tweets

Each and every one of the 1.4 million deaths caused by TB in 2019 could have been prevented. The #StepUpForTB report analyses policies for tackling TB in 37 high burden countries. ⬇️ https://bit.ly/3f1t06L

Many countries around the 🌍 still use outdated and ineffective policies, practices, and tools to prevent, diagnose, and treat TB. Governments must urgently update their TB practices in step with international guidelines ⬇️ #StepUpForTB https://bit.ly/3f1t06L

⏲ ️⏲️ ⏲️ It’s time for change. Countries CAN stop deaths from TB. This is achievable if countries' TB policies are rapidly updated and implemented at scale. Read the report ⬇️ https://bit.ly/3f1t06L

Download our Social Media Materials

Help us #stepupfortb. See our full package of social media materials here.

Go The Extra Mile: Have a bit more time? Help us reach political leaders.

Take Action - Seven Ways to Step Up for TB

1. Arrange lobbying meetings. Meeting with decision-makers is the most effective starting point for influencing TB policies. Look for supportive champions in the Ministry of Health or among elected officials. It’s important to have a clear request ahead of meetings—how can this person help?

2. Write letters and emails to decision-makers. Write to political leaders to remind them of the commitments they made during the UN High-Level Meeting on TB, share the findings of the Step Up for TB 2020 report, and request the specific action that you’d like them to take. While one letter may not lead to immediate action, it can open the door to further discussion.

3. Use social media. Social media is an effective way of reaching decision-makers and building awareness. Use Facebook, Twitter, or your favourite social media platform to mobilize your partners and reach political leaders with your key messages.

4. Hold a public panel discussion. Join forces with key TB partners to organize a physical or virtual panel discussion with local decision-makers and people affected by TB. The objective could focus on mobilizing action to reach your country’s commitments on TB, including the commitment to update TB policies in line with the latest international guidelines.

5. Prepare a factsheet and hold a launch event. Bring together key stakeholders, including decision-makers, in a public or virtual space to share the key messages and draw attention to your recommendations. Consider tailoring the Step Up for TB 2020 key messages to your local context and priorities.

6. Make a petition. Use your advocacy messages to create a petition on TB policies. This petition should have a clear call to action that explains the change you are calling for, who are the key decision-makers, and how the petition will be used. Visit www.change.org for more information.

7. Reach out to media. Consider writing an op-ed or press release for your local or national newspaper on the Step Up for TB 2020 findings. This will help to raise public awareness and can also demonstrate to political leaders that the spotlight is on them and their TB policies.

Template Letter to Send to Political Leaders

Dear [___________],

As the world continues to fight against the COVID-19 virus, I am writing to ask for your help in fighting another infectious killer. As you may know, tuberculosis (TB) is the world’s deadliest infectious disease. Although TB is preventable and curable, 1.4 million people still die from it every year, including [insert your country figures here].

The good news is that there are innovations that can help reduce TB-related sickness and death, and prevent TB from spreading. There are molecular tests that can diagnose TB accurately and rapidly, new medicines for preventing TB, and the latest TB drugs can vastly improve treatment, especially for drug-resistant forms of TB. However, many countries continue to miss opportunities to improve TB testing, treatment and prevention by using outdated TB policies, practices, and tools.

Step Up for TB 2020, a report by the Stop TB Partnership and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), surveyed 37 countries and found that many countries have yet to bring their TB policies and practices up to date. The report calls on countries to update their TB policies and practices so that they are in line with international standards, as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). This is our best chance to reduce TB-related sickness, death, and the spread of TB.

In your capacity as a [Minister of Health / National TB Programme Manager / Member of Parliament], I kindly urge you to update and implement national TB policies to bring them into line with key international TB policies and recommendations, as identified in Step Up for TB 2020. I also encourage you to share updates on your progress with relevant stakeholders, including WHO, civil society, the Stop TB Partnership, and MSF. No one should die of TB because they weren’t able to access the latest recommended tests and treatments.

I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you further about how we can work together to make TB curable for everyone and reduce the terrible toll of this deadly disease.

Yours Sincerely, [YOUR NAME]

Click here to download the letter

Key Resources

Country and Regional Factsheets: These factsheets outline the progress of the 37 countries from Step Up for TB in adopting key policies. Click here.

Executive Summary Dashboard: This chart shows countries progress on 14 key TB policies. Click here.

Key Policies Checklist: This checklist outlines the key measures every country should put in place in order to reach the UN High-Level Meeting on TB targets. Click here.

Contact Us

We would love to hear from you. Update us on your progress or to let us know how we can support your advocacy efforts. Contact us at communications@stoptb.org or access@msf.org