The Global TB Caucus and Anglophone Region MPs discuss Global Fund Roadmap
Lately, a lot of our focus has been on the Global Fund’s upcoming 7th Replenishment: we’ve discussed the role and significance of the Global Fund in the health sphere, and made the case for why the replenishment is a key moment towards meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To this end, the Global TB Caucus held two online orientation workshops for MPs on the 9th and 16th of June, 2022: framing the replenishment in the context of the Anglophone and Francophone regions.
The Anglophone workshop, which had over 140 participants including 39 parliamentarians in attendance, was prefaced by Evaline Kibuchi, Africa TB Caucus Regional Director, who reiterated the importance of working together and working with a renewed vigour to put efforts back on track to meet the SDGs.
Opening remarks were delivered by Hon. Dr. Christopher Kalila, MP and Co-chair of The Anglophone Caucus. Here, he established the objectives of the orientation: (1) galvanise high-level commitments from all stakeholders in the Anglophone region; (2) discuss the significance of the Global Fund and the investment case for the 7th replenishment; (3) build strong coalitions; how to make the most of a helpful and collaborative spirit; and lastly, (4) a presentation of the Global TB Caucus Global Fund Roadmap.
Afterwards, Scott Boule (of the Global Fund) gave a thorough presentation to further establish the Global Fund’s background and track record. Firstly, 77% of all international funding/financing for TB comes from the Global Fund. Second, efforts have resulted in over 44 million lives saved as of September 2021. Of course, the impact of COVID-19 cannot be ignored, and based on the 2020 statistics (the most recent year with complete data) approximately a million fewer people received treatment compared to 2019. Thus, it is imperative that funding is secured to reverse these losses and get back on track: cost effective investments in pandemic preparedness, and strong, resilient health systems as well as a properly equipped workforce.
Chief Austin A. Obiefuna, founder and Executive Director of Afro Global Alliance Ghana, discussed the Global Fund’s continued aid to the Anglophone Region. Firstly, he stressed that “Over 90% of TB interventions in Africa come from The Global Fund”, and he emphasised that real-time data make monitoring easier, but there must be a stronger push for a person-centred approach as the stigma against TB is still present. Obiefuna also talked about the benefits of community-led monitoring via systems such as ONE Impact.
Afterwards, Elisée Ndatimana - ADPP Mozambique, provided some figures from the ground in Mozambique: still one of the highest burden countries for TB, he mentioned that there is still a stigma surrounding TB, as well as gender discrimination. “All people need to be treated with dignity, and all have a right to protection against discrimination”.
Deborah Ogwuche also gave a key insight during the workshop: “These problems that exist in our countries can actually be addressed, and that is why we are here today. But also, we really need to think about it inwardly: how can we mobilise additional resources and parliamentarians, and anything else we may need ?”
Towards the end of the Anglophone workshop, Paidamoyo Magaya (Anglophone Regional Manager of the Global TB Caucus) presented the Caucus’ Global Fund Campaign Road Map: endorsed by Hon. Dr. Kalila, on instruction from fellow Co-Chair Hon Stephen Mule (MP, Kenya) whose endorsement speech acknowledged the effects of COVID-19: “Across many countries, COVID-19 overwhelmed our already overstretched health systems. Lockdowns disrupted lifesaving services and critical resources were diverted from the fight against HIV, TB and malaria to fight the new pandemic. [...] Now that the pandemic has been tamed, thanks to life-saving vaccines and mobilised resources, we need to retrace our steps, pick up where we left off, and use the lessons learnt from COVID-19 to mobilise resources for TB. [...] It is time we refuse this reality and shape the reality that we saw being shaped by COVID-19.”
Solidarity remarks were delivered by Hon. Mark Botomani (MP, Malawi) who shared that “As a member of the parliament of Malawi, we recognize how crucial our role is in the goal of ending TB globally and I can assure you that we, especially members of the Malawi national caucus will not relent. We will do our part and I urge other members of parliament to do the same. I call on all members of parliament to use our voices in the floor of our national assemblies and use our pen and papers to send the necessary letters to our heads of governments to make sure that our countries contribute substantially to the Global fund replenishment, but also ensure that TB control efforts in our countries are sufficiently funded.”
Hon. Daniel Molokele (MP, Zimbabwe) also shared that “Now is the time to fight for what counts: for lives, for healthy communities, for a more equitable world free from fear of disease. We can, if we all unite as countries, governments and civil society, donors and stakeholders, move faster and smarter towards challenging tuberculosis, saving lives and preventing the economic costs of not ending the three diseases.”
Mrs Caroline Madiro-Zinyemba (EGPAF), one of the regional partners of the Global TB Caucus expressed concern at the rate at which childhood TB Cases were on the increase and shared that with increased pledges, there will also be increased coverage and support to ensure no children are affected by TB. She thanked the Caucus from the platform they had created to share insights on what countries, MPs and partners could do to contribute to the Global Fund 7th replenishment.
Closing remarks were delivered by Paidamoyo Magaya and Evaline Kibuchi.
Photo Credits to Robert Keane