Despite being Africa’s second largest economy, South Africa has over the past five years seen serious economic pressures including political uncertainty and high unemployment levels. Inasmuch as the government has been addressing challenges related to inequality, poverty and access to public services; tuberculosis remains a huge problem!
South Africa is among countries with the highest burden of tuberculosis worldwide. According to World Health Organisation (WHO Global TB Report) – about 438 000 people fell ill with TB in 2016, 19 000 people developed Multi-drug resistant TB and 124 000 died due to TB.
WACI Health and other South African civil society under the leadership of TB-HIV Care have been putting pressure on government – advocating for a high political profile and development of more inclusive and sustainable health and social protection policies which ensure that no TB patient is left behind.
4 September saw the launch of South Africa’s Tuberculosis Caucus. The South Africa TB Caucus is a national constituent of the Global TB Caucus which consists of over 2 300 parliamentarians from 130 countries around the world. Members of the caucus adhere to the principles outlined in the founding document, the Barcelona Declaration.
Hosting this event was the Minister of Health, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi. Parliament nominated patrons Ms. Baleka Mbete (Speaker of the National Assembly) and Ms. Thandi Modise (Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces) for the South Africa Tuberculosis Caucus (SA TB Caucus) and they will jointly take lead. Moreover, they signed the declaration on stage at the close of the evening.
Key highlights of the declaration included committing to finding missing cases, development of new and innovative tools for TB, prevention for TB including vaccines, and access & affordability of TB treatment.
Read more of the declaration SA TB Caucus Declaration