11 July 2016 - Antananarivo, Madagascar - The Francophone Parliamentary Assembly (FPA), the Stop TB Partnership, and the non-governmental organization Global Health Advocates today signed a cooperation agreement to work towards bringing an end to tuberculosis (TB). This Agreement is a first step in creating a vast network of francophone Members of Parliament (MPs) engaged in ending the epidemic.
The Agreement serves to give a voice to MPs in order to accelerate progress in the fight against TB and to put it high on the political agenda both internationally and in the national policies of francophone countries.
"TB is the world’s top infectious killer and remains largely ignored. It was necessary to enhance collaboration between our francophone countries, between civil society and national MPs, between citizen representatives and governments, to fight an epidemic that has no frontiers and lacking political support. As for HIV, elected representatives should and could do something," said Chantal Guittet, instigator of the network and member of the FPA and the Global TB Caucus.
In 2014, 1.5 million people died from TB and 9.6 million people have been newly affected - this is 600 000 more than in 2013. This burden weighs heavily on francophone countries.
- 22% of people affected by TB in sub-Saharan Africa live in francophone Africa.
- Mortality rates are much higher in francophone Asia compared to the rest of the region - 38 per 100 000 inhabitants compared to 5 per 100 000.
- Francophone countries are particularly affected by TB and HIV co-infection, while many others are affected by multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB).
"It is essential that the End TB strategy and the Global Plan to End TB 2016-2020 are accompanied by regional and linguistic tailored initiatives in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By targeting the francophone region, we give appropriate responses and policies according to common issues and cross cutting interests because all our countries are affected by the epidemic," claims Pascal Terrasse, General Secretary of the FPA.
Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of Stop TB Partnership said, "TB needs to become a political and financial priority and we must understand the big threat TB represents for us all. We need to shift our mindsets from controlling this disease towards ending it, and we need to do it."
"We should be very pleased that francophone MPs take the lead on this issue, at a time when one of the most efficient institutions in the fight against TB, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is calling donor countries to renew their contributions for the next funding cycle 2017-2019. Representatives can make a difference," added Bruno Rivalan, Head of the French Office, Global Health Advocates.
Source: Stop TB Partnership