Stakeholders from around the world are being encouraged to add their voices, lessons learned and challenges to a global consultation carried out virtually by the Stop TB Partnership to inform the development of its strategic plan for 2016-2020.
The global online consultation model is a new platform being deployed with varying degrees of success by a variety of public health organizations. UNAIDS carried out a similar exercise in the second quarter of 2015, and the Global Fund itself is integrating an online component to its own consultations and partnership forums as it begins discussions for its 2017-2021 strategy. Stop TB, equally, is using the Fund’s upcoming 24-25 June Partnership Forum to solicit suggestions from implementers and civil society activists for its strategic plan, hosting a meeting on the eve of the Forum in Bangkok.
A similar meeting was held prior to the Fund’s African Partnership Forum in Addis in May and one is set for Eastern Europe and Central Asia in Istanbul, Turkey, in July. One for the Latin America and Caribbean constituencies is tentatively set for Panama in early September.
Stop TB has set 10 August as the closing date for the consultation process that it has vowed will be “as inclusive as possible… [and aiming] to reflect a diverse range of input in the plan update, including the voices of people and professional groups and TB constituencies who may not have been reached previously.”
These online consultations would appear to be responding to repeated frustrations voiced at implementer level that they are only belatedly consulted – contributing to a sense that the health agenda remains the purview of global bodies imposed on countries rather than a reflection of national or even regional priorities. However, for those countries with tenuous telecommunications, the online consultations also emphasize the disconnect between where policies are made and where they are implemented.
The draft Stop TB plan contains eight sections where interested parties may comment. Each section is designed to help develop an evidence base for greater investment in TB prevention and case management, promoting innovative approaches to improving adherence to treatment regimens and preventing the spread of MDR- and XDR-TB.
The five-year plan is a costed strategy for the Stop TB partnership, including costs both of global advocacy work as well as country-specific technical support. All of the planning is targeted towards the ultimate goal of reaching the WHO End TB Strategy goals set for 2035.
The launch of the Global Plan is set for end-2015 during the 46th Union World Conference on Lung Health.
The STOP TB online consultation is at http://stoptbplan2020.org.