World TB Day: A look back at the event organised by Friends Europe at the European Parliament

On 24 March 2023, Friends of the Global Fund Europe observed World TB Day by organising two events, one at the European Parliament in Brussels and the other at the French National Assembly in Paris. These talks, featuring representatives of Ukrainian civil society, aimed to draw the attention of decision-makers to the fight against TB and the resilience of health systems in times of war, particularly in Ukraine.

Close-up on the event at the European Parliament in Brussels on 22 March 2023: “Ending TB: Europe’s role in the face of growing challenges”

Under the auspices of MEP and Friends Europe Vice-President Charles Goerens, on 22 March Friends Europe organised an event focussed on Europe’s response to the many challenges of ending TB against the backdrop of war, citing Ukraine as a prime example.

Speakers emphasised the importance of the Global Fund in the fight against TB.

Andriy Klepikov, Director of the Alliance for Public Health, reminded the audience of the Global Fund’s swift response in March 2022, providing emergency funding to maintain lifesaving TB and HIV services in Ukraine.

Gabriella Fésüs, Head of Unit within the Directorate-General for Development and International Cooperation at the European Commission, highlighted the EU’s commitment to eliminating TB, illustrated by the Union’s ambitious pledge of €715 million to the Global Fund for the 2023-2025 cycle. She also recalled the importance of the fight against drug resistance to eliminate TB, an issue recognised in the draft for a new EU global health strategy.

Dan Perciun, Co-Chair of the Global TB Caucus for Eastern Europe and Central Asia and Chair of the Health Committee of the Moldovan Parliament, called for a strong political commitment to end TB and concrete decisions at the next UN High-Level Meeting on TB, to be held on 22 September 2023 in the context of the UN General Assembly.

Dr Vinciane Sizaire, Director of the FARES Fund for Respiratory Conditions, and Dianne Stewart, Head of Donor Relations at the Global Fund, stressed the importance of addressing the socio-economic determinants of health and recalled other measures that must be put in place beyond the provision of TB treatment, such as mental health support and nutrition programmes.

European Parliament Vice-President Marc Angel called for a gender-based approach and efforts to fight against stigma and discrimination to end TB. He concluded by joining MEP and Friends Europe Vice-President Charles Goerens in his appeal to work together to end TB.