The 19th Chapter: Africa launches the 19th National caucus in the Kingdom of Eswatini
Africa TB Caucus just launched the 19th National Parliamentary TB caucus. The caucus launch was graced by the Minister of Health Senator Lizzy Nkosi, Hon Moshoeshoe Fako MP, Lesotho and Hon. Chris Kalila MP Zambia and Chair of the Zambia parliamentary TB Caucus. The event which took place inside the Eswatini National Assembly was officially launched by the Minister of Health Senator Lizzy Nkosi.
In her speech, Hon. Nkosi said that the target of ending TB in the kingdom was a reality. She narrated the progress the country had made in the past one decade and said it was a demonstration of the efforts the country was putting towards Ending the disease in the country. She said the country had come from reporting 13000 new cases 10 years ago to only 4000 in 2018. Ten years ago, Eswatini had one of the highest reported cases per year in the region. This narrative had since changed. Some of the things the country had done different included: The government declared TB as an emergency in 1999. Other key interventions included rapid diagnosis, uninterrupted drug supply, increased TB education throughout the country and involving more partners for increased funding. The country also decentralized TB services nationwide.
Hon Nkosi also emphasized on the country’s commitment to the global TB targets and applauded the ambitious targets of ending the epidemic by 2030. She requested the Zambia Parliamentary TB Caucus and the Lesotho Parliamentary TB caucus to partner with the Kingdom to revitalize the efforts in the region. She said she was committed to put Eswatini on the map as the first country to end TB in Africa.
Hon. Chris Kalila in his congratulatory message committed to support the newly launched Eswatini Caucus to grow and meet their mandate in TB response in the country.
Hon. Moshoeshoe Fako from Lesotho said the region had all the resources and will to end TB now that TB had become high on the political agenda in Africa and in globally.
The chair of the CCM in the country who was a former MP said the CCM was dedicated to support the caucus in any way they were called upon. One of partners from ICAP said that the voice of TB in the country had been muted and over taken by that of HIV but the caucus would revive it.
Hon Macford Sibanze Chair of the newly established Eswatini TB Caucus appreciated all the efforts of those who had come together to see the caucus stand. He said he was committed lead the caucus and as the first chair of the National Parliamentary TB Caucus he invited all the other Members of Parliament to join the caucus and work together to end TB in the country.
Ms. Kibuchi, the African Director of the Parliamentary TB caucus expressed her excitement at the launch of the 19th caucus. In her congratulatory statement, she said that Africa had now gotten what they asked for in terms of political will. ‘You asked for political will, the caucus delivered just that. It's now the responsibility of the stakeholders to tap into the power within the MPs in the caucus.