Africa-Press – Namibia. Speaker of the National Assembly Peter Katjavivi has called for a multi-sectoral approach in the fight against Tuberculosis.
The speaker made the appeal this week when he re-launched the Namibian chapter of the Parliamentary TB Caucus.
The relaunch was necessitated by the appointment of new members of parliament in 2020.
The initiative emanates from the Barcelona Declaration that established a Global TB Caucus which is a network of political representatives with support in more than 150 countries.
So far, over 56 national TB caucuses have been launched all over the world.
Even though TB is curable, Namibia is classified among the countries with the highest TB and HIV burden worldwide.
According to statistics, the country’s incidence rate stands at 717 cases per 100 000, making it one of the highest in the African region.
At the launch, Katjavivi noted that forming a partnership does not only help raise awareness but that it will present an opportunity for members of parliament to properly advocate for both policy reforms and allocation of financial resources towards the fight against TB.
“TB caucus members will form partnerships with the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Civil Society Organisations and international bodies to build commitments now and beyond for the fight against TB.
This partnership is important in enabling legislators to advocate for financial resources and to lobby for policy reforms necessary in
TB programme implementations,” noted Katjavivi to members of parliament gathered for the occasion including his visiting Eswatini counterpart, speaker Petros Mavimbela and his delegation and other dignitaries such as Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and Deputy
Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah.
Eswatini member of parliament and National Chairperson of Eswatini TB Caucus and Member of the Anglophone Africa Regional TB Caucus Macford Sibandze echoed similar sentiments, adding that his country has stepped up efforts to fight the scourge since the inception of the caucus. He further extended an invitation to the Namibian Parliament TB Caucus to visit their counterpart in Eswatini to exchange experiences.
The Namibian Parliament TB Caucus is chaired by member of parliament who is also the chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Gender Equality, Social Development and Family Affairs Gotthard Kasuto.
It is aimed at raising awareness about the disease among politicians, so that they step up their advocacy efforts and also ensure that commitments by governments on the fight against TB are delivered. To date, over 2500 political representatives have signed up from over 150 countries.