‘Rich Heritage, Bright Future’: Celebrating 120 years of KNCV

On Monday, November 6, KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation celebrated its 120th anniversary in the Naturalis Museum in Leiden, the Netherlands. This event brought together a variety of people and organizations who share one goal: A world free of tuberculosis (TB). The theme of the afternoon was ‘Rich Heritage, Bright Future’, symbolizing everything the KNCV has achieved in the past 120 years, and the promising outcomes in the near future.

The red line throughout the entire meeting was: we are not far removed from a world free of TB – a disease that still causes 1.6 million deaths per year worldwide. With 120 years of experience in TB prevention and care, an effective new vaccine in the pipeline, and looking back on a very fruitful United Nations High Level Meeting on TB, the end to the TB pandemic is near. By working together, we can achieve a world free of TB by 2030.

Thanks to Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands

Esther van Rijswijk was moderator during the celebration. After a kick-off by Mustapha Gidado, Executive Director of KNCV, Esther gave the floor to Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, patroness of KNCV: “I am honored and grateful to be in your presence today to celebrate an extraordinary milestone… Over the past century we have witnessed reasons in the fight against tuberculosis… Your collective practicality has a fundamental impact on global health care.”

Gratitude and support

Eliud Wandwalo, Head of TB at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, spoke about his important personal and professional relationship with KNCV. “I’d like to thank the government of the Netherlands, KNCV’s colleagues and friends for the huge support you have been providing to end tuberculosis“.

Tereza Kasaeva, Director of the WHO Global TB Program, expressed her gratitude to KNCV: “It‘s a great pleasure to be here today, and joining you on this remarkable day, celebrating your 120th anniversary, and to represent WHO together with my colleague Askar Yedilbayev (who himself held a powerful presentation on the TB situation in Europe and the impact of the Ukraine war, red.). We are all extremely proud of our collaboration“.

Anne Kuik, Member of the Dutch Parliament and the driving force behind the Dutch Global Health Strategy, also spoke and inspired us with her ignition to end TB in the Netherlands and beyond.

In addition to the guests of honor present, we would also like to thank all other attendees for their support. It was great to see how the present forces join together to embrace our common goal: a world free of TB. Your presence and involvement give us the strength to continue our mission. But our gratitude goes beyond the people who were physically present. We would also like to express our gratitude to all the individuals and companies who support KNCV but couldn’t join us for this celebration. With your support enables us to save lives and fight TB worldwide.

Call to action – a pledge from all to

KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation is determined to continue the fight against tuberculosis and related diseases. With your support, we are confident that we will achieve a TB-free world.

In his closing speech, Mustapha Gidado demanded a pledge from all attendees of the meeting and beyond: “I would like to call on all of us today that together we can end TB. Therefor I call for 1: Your absolute action… In one way or another, by leaving this room, you have pledged to take action in ending TB by 2030. 2: You have pledged to dedicate your time and your resources in ending TB. And 3: You BELIEVE that ending TB by 2030 is do-able and is possible. The time for action is now. And together, we can end TB.”

KNCV has been fighting TB since its establishment in 1903. Over the past 120 years, the organization has acquired indispensable knowledge and experience in the field of effective TB prevention and care, resulting in pre-elimination in the Netherlands and significant contributions to global evidence generation, policy development and TB program implementation worldwide.

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Tuberculosis is still one of the major causes of preventable death in the world and claims over 4000 lives a day, leading to over 1,5 million deaths a year.

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