Table 14: TB and the Rights of Women 

Examples of Human Rights Violations

  • Women have less decision-making power over the use of household resources.
  • Women may not leave the house to seek care without the company of a male relative.
Human Rights Standards Treaty Body Interpretation
CEDAW 12(1) States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of health care in order to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, access to health care services, including those related to family planning. CEDAW: Recommending that Kyrgyzstan “strengthen measures to reduce … the spread of tuberculosis and other diseases among women.” CEDAW/C/KGZ/CO/3 (2008).

CEDAW: Expressing concern to the increase of tuberculosis among women to Estonia A/57/38(SUPP) (2002), Vietnam A/56/38(SUPP) (2001), and Lithuania A/55/38(SUPP) (2000).

Other Interpretations 

UN Commission on the Status of Women (2011):

Calls on Governments to integrate HIV prevention, voluntary counselling and voluntary testing of HIV into other health services, including sexual and reproductive health, family planning, maternity and tuberculosis services. Resolution 55/2 (2011).

Women’s health in prison: Action guidance and checklists to review current policies and practices (WHO, UNODC, 2011):

Para. 1. The underlying importance of human rights should underpin all thinking and all policy development for all those in compulsory detention.

Para. 3. Key services to be provided should include… specialist health care, which is readily provided and adjusted to meet the needs of women, such as for… chronic health conditions, HIV and AIDS (including counselling and support), hepatitis, tuberculosis (TB) and other infectious diseases….

WHO Guidance on ethics of tuberculosis prevention, care and control (WHO, 2010):

The obligation to provide access to TB services. Interventions should be gender-sensitive and address different types of vulnerabilities…. In addition, the needs of women, children, and people coinfected with HIV warrant special consideration.

Agreed Conclusions of the Commission on the Status of Women on the Critical Areas of Concern of the Beijing Platform for Action 1996-2009 (UN DESA, 2010):

Recommending that governments, the UN system and civil society undertake measures to: “[i]ncrease the preventive, as well as the therapeutic, measures against tuberculosis and malaria”; intensify “support of national efforts against HIV/AIDS, particularly in favour of women and young girls, including efforts to provide affordable antiretroviral drugs, diagnostics and drugs to treat tuberculosis and other opportunistic infections”; “incorporate gender perspectives and human rights in health-sector policies and programmes”; and “recognize that the lack of economic empowerment and independence increased women’s vulnerability to a range of negative consequences, involving the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other poverty-related diseases” ST/ESA/327 (2010).

Resolution WHA 62.15, Prevention and control of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (WHO, 2009):

Para. 4. Urging member states “to increase investment by countries and all partners substantially in operational research and research and development for new diagnostics, medicines and vaccines to prevent and manage tuberculosis including multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis”. Resolution WHA 62.15.

Beijing Call for Action on Tuberculosis control and patient care: together addressing the global MDR-TB and XDR-TB epidemic (WHO, 2009):

Para. 1(i). …[S]upporting developing countries to establish manufacturing plants to produce combined preparations of anti-TB medicines … to ensure adequate drug supply for the prevention and control of M/XDR-TB.