The Global TB Caucus holds the first Francophone TB Caucus meeting online
On Friday 15th of May 2020, members of parliament from France, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Senegal as well as members of civil society organisations (Alliance Côte d'ivoire, Coalition plus, DRAF-TB, Alliance), experts from The Union against lung diseases and The Joint United Nations Program on AIDS (UNAIDS) participated in a virtual meeting organised by Global TB Caucus secretariat of the francophone region.
The key objectives of the meeting were for parliamentarians to meet and share experiences on COVID-19 response in the region, identify the impact of COVID-19 on TB and HIV services and to brainstorm on possible ways to collaborate with technical partners and civil society organisations in order to sustain the fight against Tuberculosis in the francophone region during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the meeting, presentations were made by experts on "The impact of COVID-19 on health and HIV services" by Bechir N'DAW, UNAIDS and "The impact of COVID-19 on national TB programs" by Dr. Kobto Ghislain, The Union.
In the course of the meeting parliamentarians and members of civil society organisations shared experiences on how COVID-19 is impacting systems and health programs in the region as well as their engagement in the fight against tuberculosis. At the end of the meeting, recommendations were made as to how partners and stakeholders can best collaborate and support the fight against COVID-19 while TB services continue to be offered and strategies were also developed as to how best countries and governments can leverage on opportunities created by the COVID-19 response to strengthen healthcare systems, improve TB services and to also ensure that investments meant for TB are not redistributed.
One of the strategies is to organise national meetings between CSOs, national TB program, TB survivors and national parliamentary TB caucuses in the different countries to develop country advocacy strategy that will facilitate the integration of TB into COVID-19 response.
Participants also agreed to hold periodic meetings, in order to harmonise their work, learn from each other, and collaborate better in the fight against tuberculosis as a region.