In the first week of December, the 46th World Conference on Lung Health met in Cape Town and TB/HIV Care found itself at the centre of many of the conference activities.
For the first time the conference included a unique community space called the ‘Imbizo’. Intended as a space accessible to all where communities involved in the fight for lung health could come together for discussion, support, learning and inspiration, the Imbizo was a vibrant space. TB Alliance facilitated the painting of a mural including messages of support for the fight against TB in children, a National Health Laboratory Health Service van with a GeneXpert and a TB/HIV Care X-Ray truck were on site to provide TB screening, an indoor soccer pitch helped spread Kick TB/HIV’s messaging and sessions and workshops were organised around a variety of topics.
The Imbizo, with the tagline ‘Your space, my space and our space’, was a collaborative effort organised by a local community committee including Aurum, TB Proof, TAC, Living Hope, AERAS, Western Cape Department of Health, Sonke Gender Justice, Section 27, Mothers2mothers, and Grassroots Soccer. As the lead local co-ordinating organisation, TB/HIV Care convened the organising committee.
On the 3rd of December, a march of 1500 people was organised to rally support for increased investment in TB, particularly in research and development of new diagnostics and treatments. After meeting in Keizergracht Street, the marchers sang and danced their way to the Cape Town International Conference Centre, where a memorandum was handed over to the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi.
TB/HIV Care’s work was presented in a number of workshops and symposia within the conference itself. TB/HIV Care’s work in correctional services was a particular focus. It was covered during a session looking at novel strategies to end TB where TB/HIV Care’s work to increase TB case-detection and decrease time to treatment was presented as well as in a session co-ordinated by TB/HIV Care CEO, Prof Harry Hausler, and chaired by Mark Dybul, the Executive Director of the Global Fund; “Partnerships between government the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and civil society to end TB and HIV in vulnerable populations in South Africa”.
On the final day of the conference, a lively session which focused on key populations ‘speaking out’ was convened by Prof Hausler and was a highlight for many who attended since the lived experience of those who have survived TB was acknowledged.
See photographs of the conference here
Our TB/HIV Care activities can also be viewed on Facebook