Ghana TB Parliamentary Caucus launched
Ghana on 02 August, 2018 made strides when it launched its Parliamentary TB Caucus. The launch of this body was done by the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Honorable Joseph Osei-Wusu. This event organized by Afro Global Alliance and the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health in collaboration with the Global TB Caucus, Stop TB Partnership, TB Voice Network and the Aurum Institute took place at the Parliament House.
The main thrust of this body which is made up of 10 members and chaired by Honorable Kwabena Twum Nuamah is to advocate for law makers to promote the fight against both drug sensitive and drug resistant TB. This will be done by ensuring that TB is high on the political agenda as stated by the chair- person of the group.
The guest speaker, Rt Honorable Emmanuel Ombugadu, who is the Co-Chair of the West Africa Parliamentary TB Caucus and Member of the Parliament of Nigeria gave solidarity messages and pledged the commitment of the Nigeria caucus and the Africa Caucus to work closely with the Ghana Caucus to reduce the catastrophic costs incurred by patients in the Africa region.
The WHO Country Representative, Dr Owen Kaluwa in his speech on behalf of the UN partners, outlined the guiding principles of the WHO framework for the implementation of the End TB strategy. Referring to this, he emphasized the onus task ahead of the TB Caucus in advocating for increased government resources, ensuring private sector attraction to the national TB response and ensuring bold governmental policies to make treatment and ancillary investigations affordable for all TB cases irrespective of their social status. He made a call for a paradigm shift from regarding TB as a disease to be controlled to TB as an epidemic that needs to end. He made special mention of the XDR and Pre XDR cases identified recently as a cause for concern, entreating the TB control program and all stakeholders to work hard to get all patients on treatment.
The Minister in his remarks emphasized the fact that TB is curable and called for the media to support the advocacy drive in finding the missed cases.
In attendance were the Country Director of UNIAIDS, Mrs Trenton-Mbonde, parliamentarians, development partners, members of civil society, treated TB patients, TB control staff, the media and other stakeholders in the fight against TB.