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ICW Global Speak Up

March 24

Nothing For Us Without Us


Photo courtesy of World Health Organization (WHO)

Observed annually on March 24, World TB day raises awareness and mobilizes support for efforts around the world working to end TB.This years theme is, ‘Unite to end TB; Leave no one behind’.

The international Community of Women Living with HIV (ICW) intensifies our call for increased investment in community and peer support programs that are pivotal in making TB care accessible to all and particularly women and girls living with HIV.

Despite documented worldwide decline in the rate of TB incidence, Reports indicate that in 2015 there were an estimated 10.4 million new TB cases worldwide, of which 3.5 million (34%)was among women ;1.0 million (10%) among children and People living with HIV accounted for 1.2 million (11%) of all new TB cases. Six countries; India, Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa accounted for 60% of the new cases. Additionally, 55% of notified TB patients had a documented HIV test result with the proportion of HIV-positive TB patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART) was 78%.[1]

TB continues to be one of the main drivers for negative health outcomes among adult women aged 20–59 years. 480 000 women died from TB in 2014, including 140 000 deaths among women who were HIV-positive; 90% of these HIV-associated TB deaths were among women in Africa.

TB also causes a number of adverse maternal health challenges for women and girls globally for instance TB among mothers has been associated with a six-fold increase in perinatal deaths and a two-fold risk of premature birth and low birth-weight; Genital TB is not only challenging to diagnose but has been identified as an important cause of infertility in high TB-incidence settings; TB in pregnant women living with HIV increases the risk of maternal and infant mortality by almost 300% with TB rates are up to 10 times higher in pregnant women living with HIV than in pregnant women without HIV infection in Africa;Facility-based studies in a number of high HIV-burden settings found TB accounted for 15-34% of indirect causes of obstetric mortality and evidence from India has found that TB among mothers living with HIV, is associated with more than double the risk of vertical transmission of HIV to the unborn child. [2]

This in addition to the dual stigma experiences for both HIV and TB, poor structural and infrastructural as well as non-optimal investment in addressing TB at country level continue to become an obstruction towards meeting the targets to reduce TB deaths by 95% and to cut new cases by 90% between 2015 and 2035; and to ensure that no family is burdened with catastrophic expenses due to TB as set in the TB strategy[3]

In order to keep the momentum in the global and country TB programs that have averted about 49 million deaths between 2000 and 2015, strategic and innovative investment in programs that promote community participation in peer support, demand creation for testing, uptake and adherence to treatment remain important.

ICW has been vocal in highlighting the nuances within the intersectionality of HIV and TB from lived experiences of our membership globally.[4] With support from Robert Carr Network Foundation (RCNF) our efforts in 2016 have improved grassroots women participation in Global fund activities in country, Regional and at the Global level. For instance, country reports indicate an increase in representation in County Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) in West Africa (Alternate CCM member) and 4 Countries in Central Africa (CCM members). Additionally ICW-Kenya is actively involved in the Country funding request proposal writing processes representing Women and girls living with HIV in Kenya.

ICW remains committed to working in partnership with our members and partners to increase women and girls participation in country, regional and global processed geared towards ending TB Globally.

To be a part of the campaign and movement to End TB; Leaving no one behind, follow conversations in your country and on social media using the tags #worldTBday and #unitetoendTB.

[1] WHO 2016; Global TB report

[2] WHO 2015; TB in Women- Factsheet

[3] WHO 2015, END TB strategy 2015-2035



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