African Union commit to end tuberculosis ‘TB’ by 2030
The AU Commission has reiterated its commitment to providing the enabling environment for continuous political will, essential to eliminate TB and enhance the health of Africa’s people.
H.E. Amb. Minata Cessouma, Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development, African Union Commission (AUC), made the statements in a message to celebrate 2023 World Tuberculosis Day.
The media states that World Tuberculosis Day is commemorated annually on March 24 and the theme for 2023 is : “Yes! We Can End TB!”.
According to Cessouma, the worldwide theme for the day initiates a fresh viewpoint of optimism for collective strength, attention, and energy to stop Tuberculosis.
“As Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development of the AUC, I join the rest of the world to commemorate the 2030 World Tuberculosis Day.
“The message comes at a time when we are encouraged by ongoing collaborative works between governments, scientists, healthcare workers, development partners and communities to produce more effective Tuberculosis treatment.
“ All the Tuberculosis–related policies – AU Agenda 2063, Africa Health Strategy (2016 – 2030) and the Catalytic Framework to End AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Eliminate Malaria in Africa by 2030 – champion partnership for sustainable development and prosperity in Africa.
“We must join efforts to ensure that all the hard work is amplified to result in improved Tuberculosis awareness, prevention, detection, and treatment.’’
According to her, it is widely established that Tuberculosis infection is impacted by social and economic development variables such as HIV infection, malnutrition, diabetes, smoking and alcohol use misuse.
“The significant impact of HIV co-infection among Tuberculosis patients in Africa calls for stronger integration of Tuberculosis and HIV-enhanced services.
“The AU Commission’s social development agenda 2063 is premised on delivering a human-centred approach to promote socioeconomic wellness, human rights and dignity.
“I believe that addressing the social determinants of health, such as housing, income and access to culturally-appropriate health care, can potentially drive down the TB epidemic.
“Advancing the implementation of the AU Theme of the Year 2022 on Nutrition and Food Security will also increase food security sustainability, thereby reducing Tuberculosis disease prevalence.
She said it has become vital to safeguard vulnerable populations impacted by humanitarian situations, including children, individuals with impairments, and elderly adults, and preserve their social welfare.
“This is as they are vulnerable to severe direct and indirect financial and economic costs that pose barriers significantly affecting their access to Tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment.
“ Increased investment in strategies to reach vulnerable populations is crucial to fulfilling the End Tuberculosis Strategy (2023-2030).
“The Strategy envisions reduced TB incidence by 80%, TB deaths by 90%, and eliminated catastrophic costs for TB-affected households by 2030; it is achievable if we all work together.’’
She stated that achieving equal access to prevention, treatment and care for this illness across all AU Member States requires appropriate funding for TB and TB/HIV services and associated advocacy, research and innovation efforts.
“The 2022 Global TB Report illustrates a decline in global spending on essential TB services.
“ The “Addis Ababa Commitment towards Shared Responsibility and Global Solidarity for Increased Health Financing Declaration” (AU Assembly ALM Declaration) calls for mobilising adequate domestic resources for health care to reach all who need it.
“There is an urgent need to intensify efforts to mobilise additional funds from domestic sources and international donors.
“The 2023 UN High-Level Meeting on TB in September will allow leaders to renew their commitment to accelerate efforts to end TB.
“When leaders speak boldly about TB, and other communicable and non-communicable diseases, it breaks barriers created by stigma and inequality. ‘’
Cessouma asked all AU Member States to join hands to display strong, accountable leadership towards eliminating TB.