Moscow, 20 November 2017- African Union ministers of health and parliamentarians meeting on the sidelines of the First WHO Global Ministerial Conference on Ending TB reviewed the Draft Common Africa Position on TB. The draft advances Africa’s position and builds consensus while amplifying the African voice on key TB policy issues, ahead of the 2018 United Nations General Assembly High Level Meeting on TB.
‘To end the TB epidemic we must ensure universal access to high quality TB services including diagnostics, drugs, digital technologies and standards of care for all forms of TB and ensure attention to high risk groups and vulnerable populations. This requires sustained leadership and multisectoral collaboration” said Hon. Dr Pakishe Aaron Motsoaledi, the Minister of Health of the Republic of South Africa.
The Common Africa Position epitomizes the implementation of the Catalytic Framework to end AIDS, TB and Malaria in Africa by 2030 which sets bold and ambitious targets to end TB by 2030 that are aligned to the Global End TB Strategy. The Common Africa Position seeks to ensure sufficient and sustainable financing and universal coverage of TB care and prevention backed by science, research and innovation.
Africa has made significant strides in controlling TB over the years. However the latest WHO Global TB Report released two weeks ago shows that much needs to be done to end the epidemic. TB incidence rates in the region are the highest per population and the current rate of decline of TB incidence is not adequate to end the epidemic by 2030. As a region, Africa accounts for 25 to 28% of notified TB cases every year. Africa is home to 16 of the 30 global TB high burden countries.
Recent surveys have shown that many countries are missing half of the existing TB cases partly due to continued use of diagnostic technologies that have known low yield, inadequate coverage with primary health services, and inadequate collaboration with the private sector and communities, among others. Treatment coverage is currently estimated at 49%.Persistent high levels of TB/HIV co-infection mean that it remains a significant risk factor continuing to drive the TB epidemic in some settings especially in East and Southern Africa. Drug resistant TB exists widely and only half of diagnosed cases are receiving effective treatment, and only 68% of those on treatment are being cured. The 2017 WHO Global TB report shows inadequate investments in TB. Domestic financing accounts for only 26% of TB funding, while 41% of needs remain unfunded.
“We need to take decisive action towards financing TB. Without question, funding shortfalls are among the main reasons why we may trip and not reach the end TB targets. We will need to expand access to patient-centred diagnosis, treatment and care through universal coverage with modern high yielding diagnostic tools, quality assured modern medicines and regimens, and social protection which leaves no one behind, especially poor and marginalised populations” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
The Common Africa Position addresses six key areas which are promoting leadership, country ownership, governance and accountability; universal and equitable access to prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care and support; access to affordable and quality assured medicines, commodities and technologies; research and innovation; health financing and strategic information.
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The African Union spearheads Africa’s development and integration in close collaboration with African Union Member States, the Regional Economic Communities and African citizens. AU Vision: to accelerate progress towards an integrated, prosperous and inclusive Africa, at peace with itself, playing a dynamic role in the continental and global arena, effectively driven by an accountable, efficient and responsive Commission. Learn more at: http://www.au.int/en/