Zambian launches National Tuberculosis Parliamentary Caucus

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Yvonne Chaka Chaka

United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for TB Yvonne Chaka Chaka says Africans will never be respected if the continent continues to go to the West with a begging bowl to sort out its challenges.

And Chaka Chaka who is also a Health Advocate under the ACTION Global Partnership has implored politicians and other stakeholders to use the money they receive from donors for the intended purpose if challenges such as disease burden are to be eradicated.

Speaking during the launch of the National Tuberculosis Parliamentary Caucus in Lusaka today, the renowned international music icon observed that the African continent was blessed with resources which can be used to improve the lives of its people but that the resources have not been channelled towards that.

The National TB Caucus is an institution for Parliamentarians that advocate and fight against TB.

She said with so much resources underutilized, Africans will never be respected if the trend of going to Western countries to beg is not curtailed.

Meanwhile Chaka Chaka noted that monies from donors have not been used for the intended purposes because if it were most the problems that face continent would not be there today.

She bemoaned the number of people dying from preventable and curable diseases such as tuberculosis.

She urged members of parliament and politicians in general to ensure that they double their efforts in ensuring that the people they represent understand that TB is not a death sentence as it is treatable and curable.

She said parliamentarians had a duty to prevent deaths from TB as the lives being claimed are votes which took them to parliament during elections.

And Second Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Mwimba Malama commended CITAMplus the organisation which spearheaded the formation of the Parliamentary Caucus in its resilient fight against TB and the involvement of parliamentarians.

He said Parliament was the right place for the fight as parliamentarians knew the conners of their constituencies and would ensure that people are educated about the disease as the country trys to meet the 2030 vision of eradicating TB permanently.

He said the best way of informing the nation was through Parliament as Members meet with the people in the remotest parts of the country which cannot access certain services and information.

Kenyan Member of Parliament Stephen Mule called for home grown solutions to the challenges being faced in the continent.

He said the TB crisis on the continent needs to have solutions which are home grown by individual countries as doing so will produce the best solutions and results.

He also called on individual countries to stop waiting for funding but to invent ways of generating their own money so that donors can only add to what is already there.

And Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya commended MPs for being part of the campaign to make Zambia free of TB.

He said despite the vigorous debates that people have come accustomed to, the nation should know that MPs have have agreed to prioritise the health of Zambian people.

And Community Initiative for TB, HIV/AIDS and Malaria Plus Related Diseases (CITAMPlus) Executive Director Carol Kachenga said her organization gave itself the mandate to set up and host the TB Caucus Secretariat as one of the many ways to fight TB.

Parliament Committee on health Chairperson Dr Christopher Kalila led the MPs who attended the launch.

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