COVID 19 pandemic hampers TB eradication efforts


The Pan-African Parliament’s (PAP) Committee on Health, Labour and Social Affairs has learnt that the COVID 19 pandemic has reversed years of progress in Tuberculosis (TB) response, with TB deaths increasing in 2020 for the first time due to disruption of access to TB services.

The Committee on Health is meeting in Midrand South Africa at the ongoing sitting of the PAP Committees. The Committees are meeting under the African Union 2022 Theme ‘Building resilience in nutrition on the African continent: Accelerate the human capital, social and economic development.”

In an engagement with the PAP Committee on Health, Ms Evaline Kibuchi, Advisor to the African Parliamentary TB Caucus said that TB should continue to be on top of the political agenda in Africa especially now that gains previously made have been impeded by the Covid 19 pandemic:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has reversed years of progress in ending TB, with TB deaths increasing in 2020 for the first time due to disruption of access to TB services. In addition, in Africa, 44 percent of the overall TB response needs remain unfunded and only 22 percent of existing resources come from domestic sources. We also have weak health delivery systems and inadequate financial resources to support approved work plan.”

The Global TB Caucus is the world’s largest independent parliamentary network with over 2,500 members in more than 150 countries who work collectively and individually to accelerate progress against TB. At the global level Global TB Caucus works in partnership across countries to target groups such as the G20 with coordinated messaging and calls for action. At the regional level, Parliamentarians work together within their regions and regional platforms to learn, share ideas, and agree on joint and individual actions that will enhance the response to TB in their nations and regions. At the national level, focus is on building groups of parliamentarians to form National TB Caucuses and these steer advocacy efforts.

“We are striving hard to consolidate initiatives to end TB infections and we are working on scaling up our efforts so that we reach our target of zero TB infections globally. Our governments have to make an effort to contribute financially to these initiatives. We are working on many actions for 2023 as a Parliament, this is no easy task but we will do our best to eradicate TB by 2030,” said Health Committee Chairperson Honorable Jean Patrice Quirin.