Reading the 2018 Annual Report, it once again reminds me how much we can achieve when we unite and take a stand. Last year, Union staff, members and partners continued to push boundaries, seek out solutions, and fight for the most vulnerable who struggle to access health services or who are harmed by the tobacco industry’s malevolent tactics.
When I spoke at the UN HLM on Ending TB last September, I urged partners from beyond the health sector to join us in ending TB. I was therefore pleased to see heads of state from across the globe sign the political declaration – and I am encouraged that in September 2019, the international community will take this effort towards collaboration further at the HLM on UHC.
This principle of unity has been at the core of The Union’s work since our founding in 1920 and is central to our accomplishments from last year.
I am in awe of the strength of our network, and humbled by the dedication and commitment of everyone around the world working to improve health access, systems and policy.
In 2018, The Union released the white paper ‘Silent Epidemic’, outlining the gross neglect of children and adolescents with TB, the Ugandan government adopted and scaled up The Union’s DETECT model for preventing TB in children, the Global Asthma Network, of which The Union is a partner, published a report highlighting inadequacies in asthma treatment, and the Centre for Operational Research published its 1,000th research paper.
Our members continued to nurture and grow a thriving exchange network, creating new working groups and hosting monthly webinars led by experts on topics across the spectrum of lung disease. They created and released a training video on managing mental health to support people undergoing MDR-TB treatment, published a compendium on preventing TB and drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) in prisons, and collaborated on several research studies relating to the compliance of various smoke free laws in India, among others.
These are just a few examples of the accomplishments from our community in the past year. Looking back over our work, I am in awe of the strength of our network, and humbled by the dedication and commitment of everyone around the world working to improve health access, systems and policy. I truly believe that together we have the strength to end TB, to reduce tobacco use and to improve care for people everywhere.
As we look forward to 2019 and beyond, I feel certain that The Union will continue to build strong partnerships and support the global health community towards improving the health – and lives – of people worldwide.
DR JEREMIAH CHAKAYA MUHWA