Latin American Health Committees call Heads of State to attend UNHLM on TB
Montevideo (August 22, 2018) – In a declaration agreed by Members of Parliaments from across the Americas Region, parliamentarians called on regional leaders to attend the biggest political event on TB so far and boldly commit to end the TB epidemic in the region and in the world.
The declaration was agreed during the 4th Health Committees Meeting from across the Americas Parliaments, in Montevideo from August 20 to 22. The program focused on issues related to migration, non-communicable diseases and tuberculosis. The event was attended by around 40 MPs, national authorities, several international organizations and civil society representatives and it was organized by the Pan-American Health Organization, in partnership with the Uruguayan Parliament.
The Meeting was inaugurated by the Speakers of the Senate and the Deputies Chambers and by the Ministry of Health of Uruguay. On the second day, the main discussions raised were related to TB and TB and migration. During a session dedicated to the topic, parliamentarians from across the region stated the importance to elevate the political profile of the disease, highlighting the UN High Level Meeting on TB, to take place on September 26th. They also mentioned the importance of establishing TB national caucuses to continue working on specific legislation to accelerate the response to the disease.
“This is the moment when we have to act against TB. For years, the disease has been neglected and that’s why we got to where we are now: the mostly deadly infectious disease, taking almost 2 million lives a year. For the High Level meeting, it is crucial that heads of state attend it and make bold commitments to really advance the response against TB”, said Luis Gallo, Member of Parliament of Uruguay and co-chair of the Americas TB Caucus, regional network of the Global TB Caucus.
Gisela Scaglia, congresswoman from Argentina, requested the floor to talk about the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, the major international funder for TB control in world, and the need to support its replenishment next year. “Our governments need to recognize the importance of the Global Fund in the fight against those three diseases and the support it provides to strengthening health systems all over the world”, reminded Scaglia.
The Nicaraguan parliamentarian, Hon Argentina Parajon, congratulated the organizations who hosted the meeting as “it has been years that TB has a rather small space at the Health Committees Meetings and finally we have time and participation to talk about this urgent topic”, concluded Parajon.
As a result of the mobilization around TB, parliamentarians agreed a Declaration to be sent to all governments represented in the meeting, urging Heads of States to attend the UN HLM on TB and to committing to:
Accelerate efforts to diagnose and treat every TB case with no distinction, reaching the international target of diagnosing 40 million people by 2022 worldwide.
Ensure that all countries adopt and implement the End TB Strategy and the Moscow Declaration to end TB.
Coordinate efforts at the international level to enhance research and development for TB.
Establish mechanisms to ensure complete funding to the TB response, including supporting the replenishment of the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria.
Support the accountability framework to monitor the progress of the interventions against the epidemic.
Parliamentarians from Chile, Guyana and Honduras committed to adding their voice to the TB community and launching national caucuses in their national parliaments within the next year.