Thirty Parliamentarians from across Africa have signed a political declaration calling on the heads of state to attend a forthcoming United Nations High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis (UNHLM) and make meaningful commitments in a bid to end tuberculosis (TB) on the continent, and ultimately around the world.
The Declaration, which has been signed by Parliamentarians from 20 countries, calls for action to accelerate research and development, roll-out and access to new TB vaccines, diagnostics, treatment and care.
Parliamentarians from across Africa, Asia-Pacific (APC) and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) regions will join their colleagues from the Americas and Western Europe in New York in September.
Speaking after the signing, head of the National TB Caucus of Kenya and Regional Co-Chair of Anglophone Africa, Matungulu Member of Parliament Stephen Mulei confirmed that the declaration will help African countries easily track the targets they have set in eradicating TB.
“Globally, TB is the leading infectious cause of death and Africa carries about a quarter of the total global TB burden. As parliamentarians from Africa, we are glad that we have signed this declaration today and collectively, we shall be seeking to drive the political will to end TB in our respective countries,” Mulei said.
“This Regional Joint declaration will further create a framework that stakeholders in this continent can adopt and utilise as we work collectively to end TB.”
The declaration also calls for the creation of new essential tools including digital health technologies through health systems strengthening and accountability measures.
The declaration highlights that the 2023 UN High-Level Meeting negotiations commit signatories to campaign for improvements in domestic financing, policy and legislation in their respective national Parliaments.
In July, Members of the African TB Caucus, representing MPs from across the African region, met in Nairobi and signed a declaration during the 4th Africa TB Summit which was organized by the Global TB Caucus.
The Summits’ theme was: “Future-proof”, a popular term which means “unlikely to fail”, adopted by The Caucus with the spirit of ending TB once and for all.
Early this year, the Global TB Caucus, an international network of 2,500 political representatives dedicated to ending TB, convened the 2023 Africa TB Summit to galvanise political will, building on regional summits held in APC and EECA.
World Health Organisation data indicates that more than 74 million lives have been saved from TB globally since 2000.
However, Africa remains a high-burden continent for TB, with TB/HIV and multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) among the leading causes of death on the continent.
Strong political will is necessary to safeguard and secure stronger policies and strategic planning.
Source : The Star