Over 50 representatives from lusophone countries launch a political network to fight TB
November 20th, Maputo, Mozambique: Today, 301 people contracted tuberculosis (TB) and 31 died in Mozambique. This is not the result of an unusual outbreak in a hospital, or even an anomaly, but has been the norm in the country for years. Within the global Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), 336,300 people contracted TB and 42,648 died in 2019 alone.
Hon Sílvia Paula Valentim Lutucuta, Minister of Health of Angola
Taking an innovative approach by uniting a unique linguistic community of Portuguese speaking countries in the TB response, Hon Sílvia Paula Valentim Lutucuta, Minister of Health of Angola, Hon Dra Carolina Cerqueira, State Minister for Social Area, Hon Dra Elsa Maria Barber do Espírito Santo, Secretary of State for family and Women Promotion, along with more than 30 Members of Parliament (MPs) from Angola, Brasil, Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Portugal and Sao Tome e Principe, and numerous civil society representatives and other global TB stakeholders across the CPLP convened online on November 19th, 2020, to discuss the accuracy of the current statistics of the epidemic in their respective countries, adopt a regional work plan and launch the Lusophone TB Caucus in an official Declaration of commitment to the response to tuberculosis. The event was organized in partnership with The Global Fund to fight AIDS/ TB and Malaria.
Within the CPLP, countries are unequally affected by TB. Where some, like Portugal or Cape Verde are well on their way to eliminating TB, others such as Equatorial Guinea see alarming growth in numbers year after year. Timor Leste carries the highest TB incidence with 498 cases/100,000 inhabitants, while the highest death rate registered in Guinea-Bissau at 113 deaths/ 100,000 inhabitants. Angola, Mozambique, Brazil and Guinea Bissau are listed among the 2019 30 High-TB burden countries by the World Health Organization (WHO) while Cape Verde and Sao Tome e Principe registered only 250 cases each.
Hon Erika Kokay, Member of Parliament from Brazil
This disparity between CPLP countries is not only evident in the number of TB cases but also in the way it is financed, prevented, diagnosed and treated, and this raised an important question among political leaders in the region: Is it possible to find synergy in the response between the countries? Now more than ever, and with the threat of the COVID-19 Pandemic disruptions to TB Services, it is more than important to join forces in the fight against TB.
“Challenges and constraints created by COVID-19 add to the already existent need for more financing and cooperation dedicated to the fight against TB,” stated Hon Dra Carolina Cerqueira, Angola State Minister for Social Area.
Hon Dra Carolina Cerqueira, Angola State Minister for Social Area.
The Lusophone TB Caucus is part of the Global TB Caucus, a unique international network of 2500 parliamentarians in more than 150 countries who work collectively and individually to raise TB in the political agenda and reach the target of ending TB by 2030.