OSI and Stop TB Partnership Develop Human Rights Taskforce

OSI’s Public Health Watch project is working with the Stop TB Partnership to form a taskforce focused on protecting human rights and improving care for people who have tuberculosis. The taskforce will promote human rights-based approaches to TB care, coordinate global efforts, and provide guidance for governments to address TB and human rights issues.

The taskforce’s mission is to develop a policy framework and strategic agenda that will define and coordinate efforts to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights in providing universal access to TB care. The World Health Organization and UNAIDS will act as the secretariat for the taskforce and OSI is a member of the core advisory group. The taskforce will address issues at the intersection of public health and human rights that require a joint response, such as: lack of integrated TB, HIV, Hepatitis C, and drug treatment services in Eastern Europe; detention of TB patients without access to proper diagnosis and treatment in South Africa; and inadequate infection control in hospitals worldwide.

The Stop TB Partnership held a preparatory meeting on the development of the taskforce in December 2009, preceding the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease Conference in Cancun, Mexico. At the meeting, civil society advocates, WHO and UNAIDS representatives, clinicians, researchers, and TB program managers discussed measures to reduce barriers to care for marginalized groups, particularly migrants, indigenous peoples, women, and people who inject drugs. The experts also discussed how to best protect patients’ human rights and ensure accountability and community participation in the development and implementation of TB policies and programs.

The first taskforce meeting will take place in the second quarter of 2010.