Govt challenged to end Tuberculosis

Filed under: Breaking News,Health & Nutrition |
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A Zambian Tuberculosis Survivor and Advocate has called on governments to actualize their pledge to ending TB globally.

Carol Nawina Kachenga says if the target to end the deadly disease by 2030 is to be met, governments have to work round the clock by implementing their agreed targets in the Political Declaration made during the just ended United Nations General Assembly High Level Meeting on TB in New York.

Mrs. Kachenga that spoke at different fora during the UN High Level Meeting on TB in New York said has also called on communities to support the work being done by local advocates in all countries.

“For those of us from TB high-burden countries, we call on our governments to take a leading role in financing TB response, as well as addressing the conditions that generate it. Today’s Political Declaration calls for $13 billion per year to go to TB programs. Right now, we are $6.1 billion short. While it will be critical for donors to step up, national governments have a serious role to play in closing this gap by increasing domestic resources. We continue to advocate for a fully funded Global Fund and hold donor governments accountable to fulfill their pledges and commitments.

We are working towards ending TB by 2030 which is just 12 years away. Twelve years is a very short time and we have to engage an emergency mode to achieve this goal. Emergency mode calls for more funding, engaging the right gears like the communities and civil society. Emergency mode calls for better diagnostic tools and treatment. Emergency mode means ultimate political commitment. It means more innovations for TB response. We need all these now than ever before,” she adds.

Among the notable events where she spoke was a breakfast meeting were she shared the same platform with World Health Organization Director General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, UNAIDS Executive General Mitchel Sidibe, the Global Fund and PEPFAR among others.

“Without the support of donors like the Global Fund, PEPFAR and many others present here today, I would not be standing here ALIVE today .However, we cannot become complacent. More needs to be done.  We cannot continue with ‘Business As Usual’,” Mrs. Kachenga noted.

Mrs. Kachenga who also runs an organization called Community Initiative for TB, HIV/AIDS and Malaria plus related diseases affirmed her organization’s continued fight against TB among other challenges.

“As civil society, we pledge to work with our governments, National TB and HIV Programmes, and all relevant stakeholders to ensure a collaborative approach to achieving the commitments that have been made.  I personally believe we can win this war. I take this pledge to do what is within my capacity to end TB. What pledge will you take today towards this fight?” She posed a challenge.

President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, Health Minister Dr. Chitalu Chilufya among other Ministers were part of the Zambian Delegation at the UNGA and were part of the High Level Meeting on TB.

The Zambian Delegatiion led by President Lungu also affirmed to the Political Declaration signed by all world leaders committing to ending TB by 2013.

And Stop TB Partnership Executive Director Lucica Ditiu noted that need to search and rescue TB patients in communities if the vice is to be completely ended.

Meanwhile, World Health Organization Director General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus noted that leaders have to be held accountable for the commitments made in ending TB universally.

And UNAIDS Executive General Mitchel Sidibe called for strengthening of health systems if the fight against TB was to be won.

According to the World Health Organisation, TB is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide and in 2017, 10 million people fell ill with TB, and 1.6 million died from the disease.

Further, an estimated one million children became ill with TB and 230 000 children died of TB including children with HIV associated TB in 2017. TB is a leading killer of HIV-positive people.

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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31