Danish TB Caucus launches at parliamentary hearing in Danish Parliament
On 27th February, Peder Hvelplund and Flemming Møller Mortenson, two Danish members of the Global TB Caucus, hosted a parliamentary hearing on TB in the Danish Parliament. The hearing brought together a number of stakeholders in the TB response including parliamentarians, civil society, and academics, to discuss the future parliamentary response to TB in Denmark. The meeting was a great success, not only uniting a number of different stakeholders, but also resulting in the launch of a Danish TB Caucus, which will help to galvanise parliamentary engagement on the issue of TB throughout the Scandinavian countries.
Mr Peder Hvelplund opened the meeting with a call to action to his fellow parliamentarians, asking to join himself and Mr Mortenson in engaging the Danish government on the issue of TB. Mr Hvelplund pointed out that according to the current projections of TB progress rate, the target to end TB will be missed by 150 years, and an estimate of 27 million people will die of TB during the SDG period.
“In 2030, we will ask ourselves, how has the world got to this point?... I do not want the answer to be, because parliaments didn’t pay any attention” said Mr Hvelplund before asking his fellow parliamentarians to join him in launching the Danish TB Caucus.
Following his speech, Christina Birkemose, a Norwegian national who contracted TB whilst working in Denmark, spoke about her experience of TB and highlighted the fact that TB is already present in Denmark. She urged that efforts be made by all sections of society to ensure that the needs of both the domestic and international TB epidemic are successfully met. Representatives of the WHO and MSF Denmark also spoke at the meeting, highlighting the regional and national burden of TB respectively, whilst a representative from the Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria drew attention to the importance of Denmark’s role in helping to ensure a successful replenishment campaign.
Mr Mortenson closed the meeting reflecting on his knowledge of the TB epidemic from his experience of working as a leprosy nurse, before stating his commitment to supporting the Danish TB Caucus, and engaging with Scandinavian MPs on the issue.
Following the meeting the MPs decided to launch the Danish TB Caucus, and decided that the focuses of their work for the remainder of the year would be to strengthen and expand the Danish TB Caucus, work on the GFATM replenishment campaign, and support colleagues in Sweden and Norway in engaging on the issue of TB.