Protesters interrupt TB conference in Malaysia

A crowd of tuberculosis advocates recently marched through the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center during the opening of the 43rd Union World Conference on Lung Health.

The activists demanded more ambitious targets to reduce TB worldwide, increased funding to meet those targets, and an increase in civility and an end to negative language among those in the TB community, according to

The often outspoken protestors marched through the conference as the delegates from 120 countries were taking their seats, according to

"The Union conference is the one place where everyone in the TB world comes together. If it were to pass without any significant activist visibility, our calls for action would remain just words," Vice-Chair of the Stop TB Partnership Coordinating Board Blessina Kumar said, reports. "This year we wanted to make our presence felt in a much stronger way. The urgency to address TB is somehow absent."

Many of the protesters held up signs demanding an end to using terminology like "defaulter" and "suspect" when referring to TB cases. The protestors said that such words tend to negatively influence the attitudes and behaviors of the healthcare community and those affected by TB.

"We need that urgency as people are dying every minute," Kumar said, according to "We as activists are willing to do anything to ensure that this urgency is there at the forefront of the minds of governments, funders and those who are setting global targets for TB."