Let's Save Lives celebrated World TB DayLast week, as part of the final activities of the “Let’s Save Lives” campaign, DSW was privileged to organise a fantastic event at the European Parliament in honour of World TB Day.

Hosted by Theresa Griffin, an MEP and member of the Parliament’s Research Committee, the reception and information stand that we put together was an opportunity to look back at the progress that the global health community has made in the past 20 years in the fight against tuberculosis and other poverty-related and neglected tropical diseases such as HIV and malaria.

Let’s Save Lives celebrated World TB Day at the European Parliament

It was also a chance for us and our partners to look forward to the next innovations and breakthroughs in global health, and pinpoint where in fact there are gaps that we urgently need to address as we seek to defeat TB by 2035, and finally reach a tipping point in the fight against HIV & AIDS. This is particularly important in 2015, a year that is set to define the development agenda – and the focus of global health – for the coming 15 years.

Commissioner Moedas Let's Save Lives campaignTogether with Mrs. Griffin and the partners that have made the “Let’s Save Lives” campaign such a success, we were delighted to welcome as speakers Dr. Masoud Dara of the WHO and European Commissioner for Research and Innovation, Carlos Moedas (the latter via video message). In front of an audience of 50 – made up of representatives of the European Commission, MEPs and their staff, as well as youth ambassadors and colleagues from civil society, the European Union was called upon to step up to its responsibilities and lead the way in harnessing research and development to achieve transformative breakthroughs in global health.

Support from Commissioner Moedas

Commissioner Moedas responded to these calls, saying in his video message that ‘TB is a global problem; to solve it we need to work in global partnerships. For many people TB is a problem for their present and their future; that is why we must continue our international efforts to make TB a thing of the past.’ Commissioner Moedas himself stood up as a global health champion in support of the “Let’s Save Lives” campaign.

Following the event on March 24th, DSW took up residence in the European Parliament with our global health hero, encouraging MEPs to take one last opportunity to express their support for the “Let’s Save Lives” campaign and become their very own global health hero!

Thanks to their efforts, by the end of the week we had managed to double the level of support from the Parliament for the campaign in its final days. Thanks to the support of our partners, the “Let’s Save Lives” successfully managed to attain the endorsement of 40 MEPs from across the geographical and political spectrum. You can check the roll call of honour here.

Let’s Save Lives Tweetchat

And, finally, to wrap up the week’s campaign activities, and to drive home the message that global health R&D is vital if we are to meet the health challenges facing the world in the next 20 years, we hosted a live tweetchat on Wednesday 25th. Together with several co-hosts we parsed the different issues facing the global health community, how R&D can respond to them, and how we can work together with politicians and international organisations to make the breakthroughs we need.

Altogether a very busy week for the “Let’s Save Lives” campaign and a great way to round out the campaign for this year! We will be communicating ion the next couple of weeks how we can build on the momentum that it has created. Until then, take a look at the photos from Tuesday’s event, and read the excellent Storify of Wednesday’s tweetchat!

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The “Let’s Save Lives” campaign was launched by DSW in October 2014. The campaign is focused on raising awareness about the importance of investment in global health research and development (R&D) to address HIV & AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases. It is calling on EU and international politicians to step up and commit political and financial support for R&D which can create new vaccines, treatments and diagnostics so that we can finally eradicate these diseases. The campaign will run until March 28th 2015. It is supported by 17 international European civil society organisations (https://www.letssavelives.org/find-out-more/), and by a growing number of Members of the European Parliament.