While analysing the twitter network from June till September 2018 for hashtags associated with #endTB and #tuberculosis, it became apparent that one major point of discussion was centred around #unhlmtb.

The twitter network associated with #endTB and #tuberculosis showing a network connected by hashtags, users, websites and webpages. It demonstrates how hashtags are connected to users who cite them most often, as well as webpages and sites that are often associated with the hashtag and users.

Without any ideas about the discourse prevalent in the field, this was a good place to start any investigations.

What are on people’s minds when they cite #unhlmtb?

If we centre around #unhlmtb, we can now view the network that is closely associated with it.

Nodes are coloured according to their type (hashtag-green, users-purple, website-orange, webpage-red).

In the chart below, we can find out the dynamics of the discourse around #unhlmtb.

In the fifteen-week time period that the data was collected, 352 tweets were made with this hashtag. There was a peak around week 23 of the year, which corresponded with June 2018.


Why is that?

From the chart above, we can identify the tweet with the highest retweet count at week 23 by the user @GlobalTBCaucus.

Zooming into the tweet itself, we find the tweet referencing a meeting by world leaders on the 26th of September.

Other popular tweets on the 4th of June gave a hint to the happenings on that day by specifically referencing a hearing by civil society on tuberculosis.


What we found out in this quick analysis so far:

  • There will be a meeting on the 26th of September by world leaders on TB. Further investigation revealed that this will be a UN High Level Meeting on TB; the first of its kind in order to accelerate efforts to end TB. It is considered to be the most important political meeting ever held on TB.
  • On the 4th of June 2018, there was an event involving civil society that was related to the upcoming meeting on the 26th of September. This event was linked to the sharp increase in the number of retweets around that date. This meeting was held in order to enable the voice of civil society and key stakeholders to be heard at the UN High Level Meeting in September.

Discourse associated with the 26th September meeting on TB

Now that we know about the existence of the meeting on the 26th of September, we can probe if other concepts are also being discussed in association to this event.

Analysing a network based on co-occurrence of hashtags allowed us to identify the hashtags that are most associated with this topic.

Co-occurrence of hashtags with #unhlmtb

co-hash_snap_20180914_unhlmtbBesides the obvious major ones such as #endTB and #tuberculosis, we found that other hashtags such as #newyork, #EWEisME and #hlm3 were highly linked directly with #unhlmtb. While #newyork is not surprising as the meeting is due to take place in the city, the latter two were unknown.

unhlmtb_ewecismeFurther analysis revealed that #EWEisME is abbreviated for Every Woman Every Child is Me, a UN initiative to address major health challenges facing women, children & adolescents. Childhood TB remains a huge treatment challenge, hence the link between this discourse and TB.

hlm3The #hlm3 refers to the third UN High level meeting on Non-communicable Diseases which will take place on the 27th of September 2018, a day after the UN High level meeting on TB.

A narrative based on twitter network analysis of #unhlmtb

By putting together these different pieces of information, a story emerges:

The UN high level meeting on TB on September 26th will take place a day before another UN high level meeting on Non-communicable Diseases. The proximity of these meetings appears deliberate in order to ensure that officials are present to attend both meetings. The meetings will take place in New York at the UN. In advance of the TB meeting, civil society advocates assembled together and presented their viewpoints to the UN in June, to ensure that their perspectives were heard and brought into the meeting in September. We also know that the TB meeting will include perspectives related to women and children suffering with TB.

Who are the users most closely linked to the hashtag #unhlmtb?

tb_tweet_multi_snap_20180925_unhlmtb_userUnderstanding the users who cite this hashtag the most may give us clues as to the parties with specific interest in this meeting. Below are the top three users closely linked to #unhlmtb.


This is a Partnership involved in uniting stakeholders in the fight against TB and is based at UNOPS in Geneva. On their website they state: ‘to accelerate progress on access to TB diagnosis and treatment; research and development for new TB diagnostics, drugs and vaccines; and tackling drug resistant- and HIV-associated TB.’


She is the Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership and therefore is closely involved in the activities @StopTB

@ paimadhu

Madhu Pai is an academic based at McGill University and is the possibly the main (if not, only) scientist acting as an advocate for TB research.

Together, @paimadhu and @StopTB are the users related to TB with the highest links across the network.

Co-user twitter network shown using betweenness centrality measure which shows the nodes scoring highest in connecting divergent parts of the network.

Based on this analysis, we can now infer that those discussing the #unhlmtb the most are the StopTB partnership (and @lucicaditiu) and the scientist advocate Madhu Pai. Both these twitter users play important bridging roles in the TB network, as the former bridges diverse organizational stakeholders, whereas Madhu Pai bridges the world of TB research with advocacy. This is reflected by their prominence in the co-user twitter network above.