AMREF Urges on World TB Day: Let’s Ensure Sustainable Funding for TB in Africa
Tuberculosis (TB) is the second biggest killer around the world today. One third of the world’s total population is infected by Mycobacterium Tuberculosis, with no symptoms of disease; and approximately 5-10% of these will develop active disease in their lifetimes. In 2010 alone, there were 9.4 million new cases of TB and 1.7 million deaths, including 380,000 deaths of people with HIV co-infection (2010 WHO). The number of new cases is estimated at 2.3 million and will cause about 254,000 deaths.
World TB Day is commemorated every year on March 24th to focus the world’s attention on the disease. It provides an opportunity for people across the globe to unite in the fight against TB, raise awareness about TB-related challenges and solutions, and to support worldwide TB control efforts.
As Africa’s leading health development organisation, AMREF is working with governments, civil society organisations (CSOs), communities and United Nations agencies to contribute to a world free of TB. AMREF joins the global Stop TB Partnership in accepting the slogan “Stop TB in my lifetime”.
AMREF is working with the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop more efficient and effective ways of delivering TB services, capitalising on existing successful programmes by developing an integrated model of HIV and TB programs. Integrated approaches aim at providing all services at one stop- increasing coverage, reducing the number of visits and maximizing the use of the limited human and financial resources. The one-stop approach also leads to patient satisfaction and promotes compliance to treatment of both TB and HIV.
AMREF also advocates for early case detection and treatment, with user-friendly, quick and affordable point-of-care diagnostic tools. The fight to ‘Stop TB in my lifetime’will be successful if national, provincial, district, indigenous and international organizations, the UN and partners from all sectors of society join hands and use available resources to find cheaper and effective modes of service delivery. These activities cannot be realized without adequate and sustained funding.
AMREF and many CSOs are recipients of Global Fund grants that have immensely supported TB control in Africa. AMREF has used these funds to build programme capacity, resulting in increased case notification, effective treatment and coordinated defaulter tracing. The current global financial crisis and the inability of the Global Fund to disburse grants poses a grave risk to the gains made in TB control in Africa. AMREF therefore calls for development of sustainable funding mechanisms for TB in Africa.
AMREF Program Leader, HIV/AIDS/TB