Country profile: The Uganda TB Caucus
Fred Mugabe, Coordinator Uganda Parliamentary TB Caucus
The Uganda Parliamentary TB Caucus was launched in 2016 by Rt Hon Speaker of Parliament Rabecca Kadaga, founded by Hon. Masiko Winifred MP, and formed to address advocacy challenges in TB care and prevention activities especially at national level. The Caucus has 153 members and is currently chaired by Hon. Joel Ssebikaali, and staffed by Fred Mugabe, Coordinator Uganda Parliamentary TB Caucus. The Caucus also benefits from the support of a strong civil society network and the Ministry of Health National TB and Leprosy Program.
In August 2018, the Caucus held two sensitization meetings for Parliamentarians, to increase their knowledge on TB and the various determinants of the disease.
Presentations were made by partners, which included detailed recommendations for programs considerations that members could support, including:
Consider Genexpert for all smear negative patients
Improve rollout and utilization of Xpert facilities
Improve access to TB culture services at Regional Referral Hospitals
The need to improving access to CXR services
Need for more research to improve symptom screening
Advocate for more resources to finding the MISSING TB cases
There is need for more investment so that all smear positive patients can be tested for TB resistance a confirmation test (Culture/DST or Xpert in line with the End TB strategy
Additional surveys in hotspots if resources allow
Recent activities by members included visiting health facilities in the three districts of Kabale, Rukungiri, Fort Portal, Kabarole and Mbarara in the western region especially the ones with high levels of MDR cases; giving a statement on the floor of parliament, and updating the Speaker of Parliament on the TB situation and services in communities.
The Caucus is represented on the National Steering Committee of Ministry of Health. This helps the members to know what’s happening and to take action, for example having TB activities included in the proposals for funding by donor agencies such as the Global Fund. The Caucus also works closely with the committees on HIV/AIDS and Health.
The Uganda Parliamentary TB Caucus is able to function due to support from the Ugandan Parliament, the Uganda Stop TB Partnership Global Fund supported project, URC-Defeat TB project, PATH-ABH, USAID and the International Union Against TB and Lung Disease. Such support has been critical to the Caucus success, and is a model that could be adopted in other countries.
For more information, please contact Fred Mugabe, Coordinator Uganda Parliamentary TB Caucus, on firstname.lastname@example.org.