TB is the world’s top killer infectious disease, claiming 4,500 lives every day. The heaviest burden of disease is borne by communities already facing socio-economic challenges –migrants, refugees, prisoners, ethnic minorities, miners and others working and living in risk-prone environments(WHO: 2018).
This year’s theme is ‘Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free world, is a clarion call to world leaders at all levels to up their commitment by ensuring the resources needed globally to end TB. SAfAIDS is pleased to note the political will being exhibited by global leadership, with a UN General Assembly high-level meeting on TB slated in NewYork at the end of 2018. This is a clear indication of the recognition that all interventions aimed at ending TB must be accelerated and gives confidence to the development community, encouraging them to demonstrate their commitment by availing resources to the TB response.
Today, SAfAIDS joins the world in commemorating World TB Day and calls on leaders to be the torch bearers leading the way to end TB. As an organisation, our mandate includes ensuring that all people in Africa are free from the burden of TB and we also recognise the linkages between HIV and TB co-infection. We therefore commit to re-invigorating our awareness raising efforts in Africa, so that people appreciate the availability of TB detection and treatment services and access them so that we reduce the high number of TB related deaths in our continent.
SAfAIDS Swaziland is part of the TB in the Mining Sector in southern Africa (TIMS) programme supported by the Global Fund. Our mandate is on strengthening community mobilisation strategies that seek to find missing TB cases, in particular amongst the artisanal and small scale mining sector and their families. Through our engagement at local level, SAfAIDS is working with local leadership, including political, religious and traditional leaders, in line with the global theme.
For a world free of TB, leadership must commit to finding every missing TB case and ensuring they access the necessary treatment; in doing so, we can eradicate TB and TB and HIV co-infection, in the process, make ending AIDS by 2030 a reality.
SAfAIDS therefore amplifies its voice in calling leaders to act towards a TB-free world.
Knowledge for action: The power to make a difference!