A Deadly Divide: Advocacy & Media Toolkit TB Commitments vs. TB Realities

A toolkit to accompany the 2020 progress report by Affected Community, Developing Country NGO, and Developed Country NGO Delegations to the Board of the Stop TB Partnership

A Deadly Divide: TB Commitments vs. TB Realities is a communities’ report that calls for urgent action to tackle the global tuberculosis (TB) epidemic.

Click HERE to read the report.

This Advocacy and Media Toolkit contains advocacy, media, and social media tools to support engagement with political leaders, media, and other relevant stakeholders, including through regional and national launches of the report.

In the Toolkit:

TB remains one of the world’s deadliest airborne infectious diseases, killing some 4,000 people every day, among them 700 children, and close to 15 million people in the last decade.

The latest diagnostic tests can rapidly and accurately diagnose TB. New medicines can quickly cure TB. But, in 2020, people are still dying from a disease that should have been eliminated decades ago.

TB Commitments

Two years ago, at the first-ever UN High-Level Meeting (UNHLM) on TB, world leaders agreed upon a political declaration, United to end tuberculosis: an urgent response to a global epidemic, pledging to increase their efforts to fight TB.

Heads of Government and State agreed on ambitious global targets, which provided the basis for country-level targets developed by the Stop TB Partnership, which can be found here.

TB Realities

The 2022 deadline for achievement of these targets is fast approaching, but the UN Secretary-General’s 2020 report found that progress is far too slow. COVID-19 is exacerbating inequalities, making it even more important to reach people with life-saving TB prevention and treatment.

In this context, the three Stop TB Partnership NGO and Affected Community Delegations have taken the lead to engage over 150 TB-affected community and civil society partners from more than 60 countries to understand the experiences and priorities of people affected by TB. Their views, and 25 community case studies, are included in the groundbreaking report which aims to ensure that priority actions to end TB receive the platform and attention they deserve.

A Deadly Divide

In a first for TB, and in complementarity with the Secretary-General’s report, TB-affected communities and civil society have produced A Deadly Divide: TB Commitments vs TB Realities, a community-led accountability report that documents how, two years on from the UNHLM, there is a deadly divide between the targets and commitments made on TB and the realities experienced by people affected by TB.

Global investment is at less than 50% of the $13 billion per year that world leaders promised, and countries are falling well short of the agreed targets to find people with TB who have not been diagnosed and provide them with prevention, treatment, and care. Progress is even slower for people, including children, with drug-resistant TB.

Framed by the five TB community key asks, which were raised at the UN High-Level Meeting on TB in 2018, the report includes an additional sixth ask on TB and COVID-19. The global TB community joins TB-affected communities and civil society in calling on countries to implement the 6 Action Areas, which are priorities for them.

Governments must commit political will and funding to prioritize and operationalize each of the six action areas at the country level with the meaningful engagement of TB-affected communities and civil society at every step in the process.

Call to Action

TB-affected communities and civil society have issued a strong Call to Action, demanding a social justice approach to the TB response that addresses the priorities of TB communities themselves. The detailed recommendations offer concrete solutions based on evidence and experience. In summary, they recommend that all UN Member States should fund, implement, monitor, and report on the following 6 Action Areas, reflecting the five UNHLM asks with the addition of a sixth ask on COVID-19:

1. Reach all people with TB prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care

Set ambitious, timebound national targets for TB to meet the commitments in the Political Declaration on TB, and operationalize them through aligned National TB Strategic Plans, implementation plans, budgets, and monitoring and evaluation frameworks.

2. Significantly increase investments to end TB

Achieve 100% of the Political Declaration’s targets for financial investment in the TB response and the scale up of domestic and international funding for community-based and community-led TB interventions.

3. Accelerate the development of, and increase access to, essential new tools to end TB

Before the next World TB Day on 24 March 2021, UN Member States should update their national TB policies and cease the use of all outdated and harmful TB prevention, diagnostics, treatments, and models of care, in line with international recommendations. Instead, they should fund research and scale up access to newer, safer, and quicker options, and prioritize and fast-track the development of innovative new tools, including an accessible vaccine, rapid, user-friendly, point-of-care tests, and shorter treatments with fewer side effects for all forms of TB.

4. Make the TB response rights-based, equitable, and stigma-free, with communities at the center

Before the end of 2022, every high TB burden country should complete a TB Community, Rights, and Gender Assessment and a TB Stigma Assessment, followed by the development, funding, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of a national Community, Rights and Gender Action Plan and Stigma Reduction Strategy, both of which should form part of the National TB Strategic Plan.

5. Commit to multi-sectoral accountability and leadership on TB

Urgently implement an independent National Multi-Sectoral Accountability Framework for TB in every country with high-level leadership and supported by a robust national monitoring and review system. Strengthen accountability through annual country and global progress reports on implementation of the Political Declaration on TB and commit to holding a follow-up United Nations High Level Meeting on TB in 2023.

6. Leverage COVID-19 as a strategic opportunity to end TB

Develop, fund, and implement TB/COVID Catch-Up Plans to enable National TB Programs to get back on track and accelerate progress towards fulfilling the Political Declaration on TB commitments, with COVID-19 framed not as an excuse to fail to meet TB targets, but an opportunity to ‘build back better’.

Advocate to Close the Divide

A Deadly Divide: TB Commitments vs. TB Realities is an invaluable advocacy tool for TB-affected communities and civil society to push their governments in high TB burden, high TB incidence, and donor countries to step up their efforts and fulfil their political commitments on TB.

As a TB advocate, you can:

  • Write to decision-makers to share the report and the 6 Actions Areas, and remind them of their UNHLM political commitments on TB;
  • Request virtual or in-person advocacy meetings with decision-makers to discuss the findings of the report and the necessary next steps to address the 6 Action Areas;
  • Demand action, monitor progress, and hold governments accountable;
  • Promote and proactively engage in policy and response reform;
  • Add your voice to raise awareness and generate public pressure through media and social media engagement and campaigns, including petitions; and
  • Organize online or in-person report launches and panel discussions with relevant stakeholders to frame and adapt the findings to the national context.

Reaching the Decision-Makers

Click HERE to download a template advocacy letter for political leaders that may be adapted and contextualized to the country or regional level, as appropriate. Ideally, a paragraph on the specific country context should be added to highlight the relevance of the issue.

Reaching the Donors

Click HERE to download a template advocacy letter for donor embassies that may be adapted and contextualized to the country or regional level, as appropriate. Write to the local embassy of donor states, such as Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Iran, Kuwait, Norway, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, as relevant, to encourage them to increase funding for the TB response.

Engage the Media to End TB

Engaging the media is a way to raise general awareness and mobilize public pressure. It can also influence decision-makers directly, as they generally follow the news closely. Securing media coverage of the release of A Deadly Divide: TB Commitments vs. TB Realities would help to put TB back on the agenda at the national or local level.

As a TB advocate, you can:

  • Organize a press briefing, mostly likely online, to share the findings of the report with media;
  • Disseminate a press release on the report to press contacts by email;
  • Write media articles, opinion pieces, or letters to the editors of key media outlets;
  • Secure radio or television interviews to share the findings of the report; and
  • Generate public interest through use of social media.

Click HERE to download a draft press release that may be adapted and contextualized to the country or regional level, as appropriate.

Launch the Report

One way to disseminate the report to a large, interested audience is to organize events to share the findings. In the context of COVID-19, such events are likely to be online. TB advocates can organize a panel discussion or webinar with the participation of TB-affected communities, civil society, political leaders, and other relevant stakeholders.

Step Up on Social Media

These social media materials can be adapted and used to publicize the report and its findings and mobilize public pressure on decision-makers to step up their efforts to end TB.

You may wish to tag your political leaders, including the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Health. Twitter handles can be found here.

You may also tag other key stakeholders, such as @WHO @GlobalFund @StopTB @antonioguterres and others.

Template Tweets

Around the world, there is a DEADLY DIVIDE between the promises our leaders made to #EndTB and the investment of💰,⏰&🧑‍🤝‍🧑to fulfil those promises. To achieve the 🇺🇳 TB targets by 2022, govs must step up now! #TBDeadlyDivide READ:➡️https://bit.ly/373zuj7

Two years ago, the world’s leaders promised to spend $13bn every year on the fight to #EndTB.💊So far, they've paid up less than HALF. Our health is our wealth.💰 It's time to INVEST and close the #TBDeadlyDivide. READ:➡️https://bit.ly/373zuj7

As #COVID19 spreads throughout the🌏, many countries are still in the midst of a #TB epidemic. BUT communities affected by TB say countries use outdated policies, diagnostics & treatment.💊 Every year, 1.4m🧑‍🤝‍🧑die from TB, even though it's preventable & curable. #TBDeadlyDivide

Just 2 years left until the 2022 deadline for the global targets on #TB, and we say it's time for another🇺🇳High-Level Meeting in 2023. @WHO @StopTB TB-affected communities & civil society stand ready to support efforts to close the #TBDeadlyDivide.

To #EndTB, governments should integrate their TB & #COVID19 response, invest in a new TB #vaccine💉& adapt real-time data systems💻so that we can finally find & diagnose ALL people with TB. #TBDeadlyDivide https://bit.ly/373zuj7

Social Media Tiles

Tweet the images below on social media, with a link to the report and tagging @WHO @GlobalFund @StopTB @antonioguterres and your political leaders. The images can be downloaded here.

Additional Resources

Contact Us

We would love to hear from you about your work.

Update us on your progress or let us know how we can support your advocacy, media, and social media efforts.

Contact us at:

  • Advocacy & Communications: communications@stoptb.org
  • Communities, Human Rights & Gender: CRG@stoptb.org
  • Developed NGO Delegation: stbpdevelopedngo@gmail.com
  • Developing NGO Delegation: Stbp-Developing-NGO@googlegroups.com