By Christine Lagat (Xinhua) --
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa should prioritize new
investments in diagnostic equipments, case management and public
awareness to reduce the burden of tuberculosis (TB), policymakers
They told a forum in Nairobi that innovative financing options were
an imperative in order to revitalize the war against TB that has
surpassed HIV/AIDS to become a leading killer in Africa.
Principal Secretary in Kenya’s Ministry of Health Nicholas Muraguri
said at the forum that shrinking budgetary allocation, incoherent
policies and competing priorities could reverse gains made in the
war against TB in Africa.
“Our continent has a disproportionate burden of tuberculosis that
has mainly been fueled by HIV/AIDS and poverty. We must therefore
increase investments in prevention and management of the disease,”
The World Health Organization (WHO) contends that Africa accounts
for 25 percent of the global TB burden while 16 out of 30 TB
high-burden countries are found in the continent.
Muraguri stressed that political goodwill coupled with smart
investing and robust public awareness is key to reinvigorate TB
control programs in Africa.
Kenya is among five African countries with the highest burden of
tuberculosis but state-led interventions have in the last decade
averted half a million deaths thanks to increased funding towards TB
diagnoses and treatment.
Eliud Wandwalo, senior coordinator for TB at the Geneva based Global
Fund, said funding agencies have prioritized investments in
homegrown programs to reduce the burden of tuberculosis in Africa.
He revealed that Sub-Saharan Africa would receive the bulk of the
1.8 billion U.S. dollars the Global Fund has set aside to combat
tuberculosis globally in the next two years.