We participants at the 3rd Stop TB Partners Forum holding in Rio, Brazil from 23-25 March 2009 and other concerned organizations, institutions and persons.
Very concerned that 4.2 million Africans are currently living with TB and of these, 2.8 million are new TB cases – and the situation worsens with every passing day – as a person with active TB can infect 10 to 15 persons a year – making TB arguably Africa’s biggest public health concern.
Appalled that an estimated 639,089 African lives are lost to TB annually and the situation worsens daily.
Dismayed that despite African governments declaring TB as an emergency in 2005, Africa is the region with the largest funding gap (US$10.7 billion) for funding the fight against TB. i.e. the difference between total needs for full implementation of the Global Plan to Stop TB 2006-2015 and projections of the funding that will be available over the next 10 years.
- Even though Africa makes up only 11.7% of the global population, Africa alone contributes 27 of the 50 countries globally with the highest prevalence of people living with TB, and also 26 of the 50 countries with the highest number of deaths globally. This reflects the scale of Africa’s epidemic – and its potential to rapidly get worse.
- Furthermore, Nine of the world’s 22 TB high-burden countries are in Africa, i.e. Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
- Outbreaks of Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB) and Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) now threaten to further complicate the TB epidemic in these and other countries.
- In the context of TB/HIV co-infection, TB being the biggest killer of HIV positive persons and the need for coordinated TB / HIV treatment – 22 high HIV prevalence countries with an estimated adult HIV prevalence rate equal to or greater than 4% are in Africa: Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Lesotho, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
- In addition and very worryingly the AU African integration agenda could be undermined by the fact that five of the TB most affected countries; Nigeria, Ethiopia, South Africa, DRC and Kenya are all also amongst Africa’s most highly populated countries; are all regional hubs; or countries with the most number of common borders with other countries.
Noting that Africa’s social and economic development could also be further undermined by a worsening of the TB epidemic as latest Stop TB partnership / World Bank analysis indicates that the economic cost of not treating TB to Africa between 2006 and 2015 would be $519bn while TB can be controlled with $20bn in the same period.
Hereby call on and appeal to African Heads of State, and Ministers of Health and Finance to urgently:
• Accelerate efforts towards meeting the outstanding AU Abuja pledge to allocate 15% of national budgets to health as reiterated at the 2008 AU Summit in Egypt, the 2008 Conference of African Finance Ministers, and 2008 Special Conference of African Health Ministers.
• Specifically work with the international community to ensure the mobilisation of African and other resources towards closing of Africa’s (US$10.7 billion) funding gap for implementation of the Global Plan to Stop TB, as the situation can only get worse if not urgently addressed.
• Initiate action on the call for a joint conference of African Health and Finance Ministers by 2010 to address details of how to mobilise and efficiently allocate more domestic African resources for actualisation of the AU Africa Health Strategy, all Health MDG’s, and rebuilding of health systems, including resolution of key factors such as health workforce shortages to urgently address Africa’s overall public health tragedy which currently claims over 8 million lives a year.
• Ensure that the joint conference of African Health and Finance Ministers holds as a prerequisite to the Abuja + 10 review of the 2000/2001 AU Abuja Commitments and declarations on health development and financing.
We also Congratulate African Parliamentarians:
• On the formation of the Network of African Parliamentarians for Health Development and Financing and urge the Network as elected representatives of various constituencies to act speedily to ensure increased and efficient funding for health through parliamentary action to actualise the Abuja AU call for 15% of national budgets to be allocated to health.
• Urge the Network to ensure funding to fight TB by working towards ensuring the closing of Africa’s (US$10.7 billion) funding gap for implementation of the Global Plan to Stop TB.
• And further urge the Network to accelerate national debate’s and action on the implementation of the AU Africa Health Strategy, health based MDG’s and rebuilding of health systems to ensure a sustainable basis for African social and economic development.
Signatories in Alphabetical order:
· Africa Internally Displaced Persons Voice (Africa IDP Voice)
· Africa Public Health Alliance & 15% Campaign
· Afrihealth Information Projects, Nigeria
· Ambassadors of Change NGO, Kenya
· Association of Women Living With HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (ASWHAN)
· Centre for Health Systems Research & Development, University of the Free State, South Africa
· Centre for Hospital and Health Services Improvement (CHAHSI Nig.)
· Centre for Health, Science & Social Research (CHESSORE), ZAMBIA
· Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health
· HESI International Social Agency, West Africa
· Health Workforce Advocacy Initiative (international)
· Kenya AIDS NGOs Consortium (KANCO)
· National Nurses Association of Kenya
· Physicians for Human Rights (USA)
· Positive-Generation, Cameroon
· Positive Life Association of Nigeria (PLAN), Nigeria
· Re-action Consulting, South Africa
· Treatment Action Movement (TAM) – Nigeria
· Uganda Association of Physiotherapy
· Youth Intercommunity Network, Kenya