World TB Day (March 24) is a global commemoration that allows us to reassess the efforts of stakeholders and encourage stronger engagement from governments and stakeholders towards ending tuberculosis (TB).
However, TB remains a serious threat to public health, and needs to be addressed in many countries of the world, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
In the DRC, for instance, TB is accompanied by a heavy socioeconomic impact. According to the WHO, the DRC is among the 30 countries that bear 86% of the global TB burden, and it is most affected by all forms of tuberculosis and HIV. Despite these statistics, the 2021 WHO TB report shows that of the 57 million USD required to fund the TB response in DRC, only 1.3% was domestically funded and 60% was internationally funded, leaving 39% unanswered for.
In view of these statistics, while considering the reduction of members in the National Caucus and the major role of political representatives in advocating for domestic funding and adequate legislation to fight the disease, Parliamentarians of the National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and members of Stop TB Partnership DRC met on the 5th of March, 2022. This was a coordination meeting meant to reassess efforts towards the relaunch and formalization of the DRC National Caucus; working towards the collective goal of ending TB in the country.
During the meeting, participants discussed the guidelines to establishing a caucus, the mandates of the DRC National Caucus, a draft letter to the president of the National Assembly of DRC, as well as the schedule of activities for the commemoration of World TB Day 2022; including the Ministerial press briefing.
This meeting reaffirmed the commitment of parliamentarians towards forming a strong alliance with members of civil society and other relevant stakeholders, to focus on the revitalization and relaunch of the DRC National Caucus to end TB in the country; a touchstone that reminds us of the significance of securing political will, and translating that will into action.
This recent meeting and continued efforts from stakeholders in the DRC are also examples of how work against TB can continue: united, and beginning at the regional and national levels to radiate outwards, bearing fruit with time and patience.
We encourage countries who see the need to revitalize their national caucus due to electoral or political issues to do so, while considering unforeseen occurrences that may affect the efficiency of national caucuses. Please do not hesitate to inform us of your efforts, and contact the Global TB Caucus secretariat via email@example.com, for technical support or guidance whenever necessary.
Photo Credits to Guillaume de Germain