Speaker: Phumeza Tisile, TB activist, former MSF patient, survivor of XDR-TB
My name is Phumeza Tisile. I was diagnosed with normal TB in 2010, while all along I had XDR-TB.
The journey to my cure was a matter of unfortunate events, BUT I survived.
Last year with my doctor I wrote the “Test Me, Treat Me” Manifesto. Today I’m delivering the Manifesto to you, World Health Leaders.
The reason is: I wouldn't wish anyone to go through what I went through with drug-resistant TB. The drugs alone are a nightmare; becoming deaf because of a drug’s side effects is just life-destroying.
Many of whom I’ve called my friends in hospitals are no longer alive. Either the drugs didn't work, or they simply quit because the side effects from 20 tablets a day for two years is too much.
Change is what I'm hoping for. Better drugs. No toxic drugs.
I’m not the only one. I am here on behalf of people devastated by this disease all over the world. 50,000 people have endorsed our Manifesto.
Ministers, I ask you to act to make the three demands of our DR-TB Manifesto a reality.
One: Everyone must have access to fast and accurate diagnosis, and to treatment not in hospitals but close to their homes. Everyone with DR-TB deserves timely treatment.
Two: Treatments must be more effective, tolerable, affordable, and be shorter. New TB drugs are needed now to give people a better chance. People are dying and we cannot afford to wait– we need a better DR-TB regimen now.
And three: Funding must be found to increase DR-TB diagnosis and treatment, and for research into new, affordable treatment regimens and other innovations.
Together, we can ensure TB is curable. But this requires more than a strategy. It requires action. I commend you for setting ambitious targets, but I ask you to act now, I ask you for change.