Former UN Peace Messenger Anna Cataldi joins campaign to curb TB
Italian author and journalist Anna Cataldi, a former United Nations Messenger of Peace, was today appointed as an Ambassador of the Stop TB Partnership to raise awareness worldwide about the unfair burden of tuberculosis on refugees, migrants, people living in poverty and other disadvantaged groups.
In 2005 alone, the disease is estimated to have killed 1.6 million people.
The Stop TB Partnership, whose secretariat is hosted by the UN World Health Organization (WHO), is a network of more than 500 international organizations, countries, donors from the public and private sectors, TB patients and nongovernmental and governmental organizations. Its goal is to eliminate TB as a public health problem worldwide.
“Anna Cataldi has an extraordinary track record of galvanizing people to confront issues that cause human suffering,” Partnership Executive Secretary Marcos Espinal said. “She will be a strong voice calling for access to TB prevention, diagnosis and treatment as a human right.”
Ms. Cataldi said she was “grateful to the Stop TB Partnership for giving me this opportunity to advocate on behalf of those suffering from this disease.”
Welcoming the appointement, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan praised Ms. Cataldi for her tireless efforts and devotion. “She was an active, compassionate and productive Messenger,” he said. “She travelled to difficult places, such as Afghanistan and Somalia, to bring support, encouragement and hope to the desperate and voiceless. I am delighted she will now devote her energies to the Stop TB campaign.”
The Partnership’s Global Plan to Stop TB (2006-2015) seeks to treat 50 million people for TB between now and 2015 and save about 14 million lives. It aims to halve TB prevalence and deaths compared with 1990 levels by 2015.
“Ms. Cataldi is sure to advance the global fight against TB. We welcome her appointment enthusiastically,” said Mario Raviglione, Director of the Stop TB Department at WHO.
Ms. Cataldi is the author of Letters from Sarajevo, which chronicled the impact of war on Bosnia’s children. In 1998, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, she initiated a project to create and distribute a passport-sized pamphlet version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for children. This March, she conceived and helped organize a photo exhibit focussing on TB at the UN’s New York Headquarters that was viewed by more than 100,000 people.