It’s Time to Break Down the Wall of TB
Renuka Gadde, VP of Global Health, BD, and MDG Health Alliance TB Pillar Co-Chair; and Dr. Lucica Ditiu, Executive Secretary of the Stop TB Partnership
As a global community, we have the know-how to fight Tuberculosis (TB) and control its spread yet 9 million people got sick with the disease in 2011 and 1.4 million people died.
Why should the business community in particular pay attention? Put simply, TB is not only a humanitarian crisis, but also an urgent economic crisis.
Given recent political commitments, the time has never been better for businesses to take up TB as a corporate priority. There are three things that we as the private sector can and need to do to build on this momentum.
Invest and Innovate. It costs less to treat TB than to ignore it. Investments in workplace wellness programs yield positive returns while healthy communities enable economic growth. Further, new technologies and innovative approaches to prevent, screen and treat TB can have a huge impact in stemming the spread of TB.
Accelerate Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs). There are a few companies today that are investing and engaging in programs to turn the tide on TB. Much more can and should be done to capitalize on the strengths of both the public and private sector.
Advocate and become champions. When corporations come together and take collective action, they become a strong voice that can inspire governments and decision makers. Today alone 4,000 people will die from TB. As corporate leaders we cannot save them all but we can collectively encourage governments to act. We can lead and empower advocacy efforts, and our voice—combined with the voice of civil society and policy makers—can for the first time make TB a global priority.
Increasingly, the global TB community is calling for ambitious targets: zero TB deaths and zero new TB infections. For this to happen, we have an opportunity to engage country governments, healthcare providers, industry members, researchers, communities, civil society and people affected by TB to work together and scale up efforts in countries. The challenge facing us is great but the opportunity for collective impact is even greater. The time is now to unite around a common TB agenda.
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The Epicenter of the Epicenter: Mining-Associated TB in Southern Africa & the Opportunity for Business
Shuma Panse, Senior Manager, GBCHealth
Earlier this year, heads of state from 15 countries joined hands and collectively pledged to address the tuberculosis (TB) epidemic in the region and industry where it rages most: Southern Africa’s mining sector. The pledge – or Declaration on Tuberculosis in the Mining Sector – is an unprecedented display of commitment from the leaders of South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho and several other nations. Spearheaded by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the declaration is a call to action for all stakeholders to build new partnerships that yield collective impact in the fight against TB. The declaration presents an opportunity for business, in the mining industry and beyond, to engage, step up and contribute.
With strong political will and momentum building around a regional response, the time is now for the private sector to demonstrate leadership around the implementation of the SADC Declaration.
Some ways the mining and business community can contribute include: sharing knowledge of TB workplace programs with the rest of the industry, including medium-sized mining companies and contractors; embracing programmatic and technological innovations that enable cross-border TB management, such as a regional “health passport” for migrant miners; and investing in community programs.
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GBCHealth Speaks About Business Engagement at World Conference on Lung Health
November 13-17, 2012 | Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia
The 43rd Union World Conference on Lung Health focused on "Driving Sustainability through Mutual Responsibility." The theme reflected the desire of the TB and lung health community to engage stakeholders in a strengthened and sustainable response to TB and lung diseases.
GBCHealth’s Program Manager, Julie Cege, provided insight into business associations as key partners in a session entitled Capitalizing Corporate Sector Strengths to Address TB and HIV Challenges. She highlighted three broad areas: the rationale for business engagement on TB and HIV; the role business associations play in encouraging business engagement on TB and HIV; and GBCHealth’s experience in engaging companies in sustainable action on TB and HIV. Organized by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, more than 2,600 delegates from 122 countries attended the conference.
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Chevron: How Big Business Can Lead the TB Response
GBCHealth member Chevron also spoke at the Capitalizing Corporate Sector Strengths to Address TB and HIV Challenges panel at last month's Union World Conference on Lung Health. Dr. James Allen, Asia Pacific Medical Director for the Chevron Corporation, discussed the role of big business in corporate social responsibility initiatives for TB care and control and addressed Chevron’s experiences.
Chevron’s workplace TB program targets countries or locations with a high TB burden and aims to increase awareness of the disease among its workforce and the communities in which Chevron operates. These include efforts in Africa and Southeast Asia, and each country project is tailored to serve the specific needs of the workforce and community and to complement the existing healthcare infrastructure. Allen also described Chevron’s partnerships with high-level organizations, such as GBCHealth and the Stop TB Partnership, that enable Chevron to share best practices and provide leadership that help other companies in the fight against TB. Allen detailed Chevron’s TB initiatives, including its TB education program at Caltex gas stations in the Philippines, and described what companies can do to join the fight against TB.
See Chevron’s presentation »
GBCHealth Award Honoree Tibotec: Current Developments on Treatment for Multi-Drug Resistant TB
In 2008, Tibotec’s work on the multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) treatment, TMC207, earned the company a Commendation in the Business Action on Health Awards. TMC207 could be one of the first new class of drugs for TB in over 40 years and one of the first drugs to specifically target MDR-TB, a particularly dangerous strain of TB with few affordable and available therapies. This makes TMC207 a potential game-changer in developing countries, which are hardest hit by MDR-TB.
In the four years since its GBCHealth commendation, Tibotec has made significant progress with TMC207. In June 2012, Tibotec submitted a New Drug Application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for priority review of TMC207 (now called Bedaquiline) and a decision is due at the end of this month. Tibotec has also filed for authorization in Europe. In light of these recent landmarks, the company is preparing to start its Phase 3 trial study, involving 600 participants with confirmed MDR-TB.
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About the GBCHealth Awards: For more than a decade, GBCHealth has been presenting the Business Action on Health Awards to companies that exemplify a spirit of innovation and help set the agenda for addressing today's most important global health challenges. The awards represent a key opportunity to recognize success and best practices, providing powerful examples to inspire others. Programs are honored in eight categories, from Technology for Health to Workplace/Workforce Engagement. Visit our awards page for more information on the process and to apply online. Applications for the 2013 awards are open through December 21, 2012.
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Insights into TB Vaccine Development from GBCHealth Member Aeras
To successfully control TB, the global health community must focus on the pipeline: new drugs, new diagnostics and new vaccines. Aeras is a nonprofit dedicated to developing tuberculosis vaccines that protect people in all age groups and are affordable. Aeras currently has six vaccine candidates in its portfolio, all in different stages of development.
Read more TB vaccine news in the Aeras 2011 Annual Report »
Kari Stoever, Vice President of External Affairs at Aeras, sat down with GBCHealth at our 2012 conference, explaining the partnership model at Aeras, highlights from its vaccine portfolio and the greatest challenges in ending TB.
Watch the Video »
Management Sciences for Health Strengthening TB Care Systems
Management Sciences for Health (MSH) is an international nonprofit organization that helps nations tackle complex public health challenges and improve the health of the world’s poorest people. In more than 30 countries, MSH, a GBCHealth Affiliate Member, is working to prevent the spread of TB and improve the lives of those already affected. Some of its work includes:
Expanding and strengthening TB care and treatment by increasing political support for expanded DOTS programs (Directly Observed Treatment Short course) and building human and institutional capacity to diagnose and treat TB.
Improving TB infection control by working with national TB programs to develop and implement standards, procedures and policies for prevention and control at the health facility and community level. The USAID-funded TB CARE I project, led by KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation (KNCV) in partnership with MSH, is conducting a pilot study in 28 health facilities in Ethiopia to roll out standard operating procedures for improved TB diagnosis, treatment, and care.
Read MSH’s TB Newsletter »