TBEC was formed by a group of engaged TB advocates in 2009. The consistent increase of already high rates of drug-resistant TB (DR-TB), coupled with limited funding and low awareness among general populations and policy makers in the region, called for urgent action. However, the limited capacity, knowledge and skills of civil society organisations and advocates working on TB meant that there were few organisations and individuals capable of successfully advocating for TB on a national and regional level. Acknowledging their common causes, and recognising the importance of an effective civil society, TBEC was formed to bring organisations and individuals together. Over the following years, TBEC expanded through online communication via the TBEC website and listserve, active networking at international and regional conferences and regular country visit. In 2014, TBEC obtained a multi-annual grant from the European Commission’s Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency under the 3rd EU Health Programme. This grant allowed the strengthening of the network’s operational capacity and substantially expanded TBEC’s outreach activities. Since 2016, TBEC is a formal partner of the TB REP project supported by the Global Fund aimed at supporting civil society organisations in their grassroots advocacy efforts in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
As of autumn 2017, TBEC has more than 170 members, including individuals and civil society organisations from more than 35 countries in the region. Membership is open and free of charge to all individuals and civil society organisations within the WHO Europe Region working to end the TB epidemic. New members confirm their alignment with TBEC’s values upon joining the network.