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05 Oct 2021
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TB Ambassadors

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TB Ambassador Melikhaya Lusiti – Eastern Cape

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TB Ambassador Matlakala Thulo – TB Ambassador – Free State

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TB Ambassador Lehloholo Thobakgale -Tswana – Gauteng

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TB Ambassador Rueben Mahlatji – Sepedi – Limpopo

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TB Ambassador Victor Mammesh – Afrikaans – Newcastle

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TB Ambassador Thando Rolase – Western Cape

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TB Ambassador Ludick Mabyane – North West- Tswana

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TB Ambassador Thembi Nkomo – Siswati – Mphulmalanga

18 Aug 2021
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North West Provincial TB Caucus Launched

North West Provincial TB Caucus Launched

As part of the build-up to World TB Day, the North West Provincial Legislature launched the North West TB Caucus on 5th March 2021, making North West the first Province to launch the TB Caucus. The launch was held at the North West Provincial Legislature Chambers and it was a hybrid with some members of the Provincial Legislature, Provincial Council on AIDS attending in person and some attending virtually.

On World TB Day 2021, the Deputy President, H.E David Mabuza acknowledged the SA TB Caucus Secretariat’s efforts in supporting the establishment of TB Caucuses in all Provinces and encouraged Provincial Legislators to advocate for resources and policies that are conducing for the implementation of the TB program – prevention, care and treatment and research and development.

Deputy President, H.E David Mabuza
Deputy President, H.E David Mabuza acknowledged the SA TB Caucus Secretariat’s efforts i

“We are pleased with progress made by the South African TB Caucus Secretariat, in their efforts of establishing TB Caucuses in all provinces of the country. The TB Caucus is a non-partisan country structure that forms part of the Global TB Caucus, an international network up of over 2500 parliamentarians from over 150 countries across the globe who work collectively and individually, across geographical divides and by engaging with civil society and other stakeholders towards ending the TB epidemic.
This work is important in enabling legislators to advocate for the financial resources towards the TB response and marshal policy reforms that enable the effective roll-out of TB prevention programmes”.

 

The call by the Deputy President aligns with national and global calls for more political leadership in the TB response. Goal 6 of the National Strategic Plan on HIV, TB and STI’s 2012 – 2022 -is  ‘Promote leadership at all levels and shared accountability for delivering this plan’ and the Moscow Declaration to End TB where Ministers of Health committed to ending TB, which is a political priority defined in the Agenda 2030 and as a contribution to achieving universal health coverage, within national legislative and policy frameworks, and to implementing actions through approaches protecting and promoting equity, ethics, gender equality, and human rights in addressing TB, and based on sound, evidence-based, public health principles. The Health Ministers urged WHO, and called upon other UN organizations and all partners, to provide the support necessary for success.

North West Health MEC, Hon. Madoda Sambatha
North West Health MEC, Hon. Madoda Sambatha

During the launh, the North West Health MEC, Hon. Madoda Sambatha gave the main addressed and acknowledged the challenges posed by TB in South Africa and the importance of political leadership in the fight against TB. Hon. Sambatha called on Legislators to support initiatives to combat TB and urged Legislators to demonstrate political leadership in the fight against TB.

He also emphasized that the TB response in an apolitical initiative and alluded to the importance of a mutli-sectoral approach to the TB response.

The North West for the Legislature Speaker, Hon.  Sussana Dantjie expressed the Legislature’s political commitment to the fight against TB and announced that the Legislature’s Deputy Speaker Hon. Ntsetsao Viola Motsumi will lead the day to day work of the TB Caucus in North West and will be reporting to the office of the Speaker.

Hon. Madoda Sambatha
Hon. Madoda Sambatha signing the TB Declaration during a launch of the North West TB Caucus

sa tb caucus declaration
SATB Caucus Declaration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

North West Speaker of the Legislature Sussana Dantjie signing the TB Declaration

16 Aug 2021
Hon. Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo

No one is safe until everyone is safe: Equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines is not optional

Deputy Minister of Health and Co-chairperson of SA TB Caucus advocates for ‘Equitable access to COVID19 vaccines

As long as there are places in the world where Covid-19 continues to spread unabated, no one is safe. To date, Covid-19 has accounted for more than 190-million cases and four-million deaths, globally.  The gaps in the global health systems particularly between low and middle-income countries (LMICs) and high-income countries (HICs) continues to show, with some countries having secured vaccines for more than 100% of their population, while there are countries that have vaccinated less than 5% of their population.

Almost four-billion Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered globally, and just above one-billion people have been fully vaccinated against the virus. Of the almost four-billion Covid-19  vaccine doses that have been administered, only 1.1% have been administered in LMICs.

Last year, before any vaccines had become available, HICs negotiated deals to secure large quantities of doses, placing LMICs in real danger of not getting enough vaccines. The HICs sought large quantities because there was uncertainty around which vaccine candidates would work and how quickly they would be approved for use. At the start of the pandemic, the world witnessed several countries pushing for first access to a supply of these products and the hoarding of components for vaccine production increased. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, estimates that vaccine nationalism could lead to the unequal allocation of Covid-19  vaccines and cost the global economy up to $1.2-trillion a year in GDP terms. Even if some countries manage to immunise their populations against the virus, if it is not under control in all regions of the world, there will continue to be a global economic cost associated with it.

The African Union aims to vaccinate 60% of the continent’s population to reach herd immunity. So far, only about 1.5% of the population on Africa continent is fully vaccinated. The continent has received 82.7-million vaccine doses of which countries have administered 61.3-million doses.

In many higher income countries where vaccines are widely available, the number of Covid-19  cases has declined sharply, and life has begun to return to normal. Inequitable distribution of vaccines will continue to prolong the pandemic and cause more unnecessary suffering. The brunt of the pain resulting from inequitable distribution of vaccines continues to be felt by low- and middle-income countries. The Covid-19 burden on health systems is increasingly becoming unbearable, with hospitals becoming overstretched, medical oxygen supplies running out, and health workers becoming overloaded and fatigued.  LMICs are experiencing a serious negative economic impact due to Covid-19  that has claimed the lives of the young and the old, and gravely affected livelihoods due to lost sources of income.

As South Africa continues to grapple with the third Covid-19 wave and surges in some cases, the country has seen positive developments involving collaboration between the South African government and private sector. In October 2020, South Africa and India led the call for a waiver from certain provisions of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement for the prevention, containment and treatment of Covid-19 at the World Trade Organization’s TRIPS Council, a call which was joined by Eswatini and Kenya.

The announcement of the collaboration between South Africa’s Biovac Institute and US pharma giant Pfizer represents a milestone in the battle for equitable access to Covid-19  vaccines. This collaboration will see Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine being produced in Cape Town by the Biovac Institute — a public-private partnership between the South African government and the pharmaceutical sector. This announcement follows an agreement made in November 2020 involving South African pharmaceutical company Aspen and Johnson & Johnson to manufacture an investigational Covid-19  vaccine candidate.

As South Africa moves forward to being involved in vaccine manufacturing, the African continent still needs to do more. The continent manufactures less than 1% of all the vaccines it uses.  There is a need to increase the vaccine manufacturing capacity of the continent. Governments need to invest more in vaccine manufacturing and in exploring partnership models with the private sector.

LMICs need to improve their vaccine manufacturing capacity, and it is important that high-income countries honour their commitments to donate vaccines to LMICs. HICs should also support the North-South technological transfer to ensure that capacity is built in LMICs and that there are sustainable vaccine manufacturing projects. The political leadership driving vaccine manufacturing discussions in the continent needs to be sustained.

As more vaccines reach countries in LMICs, barriers related to timely approvals of Covid-19 vaccines due to prolonged reviews by national regulatory authorities need to be addressed. Countries are encouraged to sign and ratify the African Medicines Agency (AMA) treaty, which will facilitate continent-wide co-operation on medicine regulation. — Hon. Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo – Deputy Minister of Health, South Africa

10 Sep 2018

Media coverage of the launch of the SA TB Caucus

The launch of the SA TB Caucus was well covered by the broadcast and print media. ENCA interviewed both Minister of Health,

Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, as well as Miss South Africa, Tamaryn Green, on Morning News Today on the 5th September. Watch the interview here.

The launch was mentioned on radio on Aganang Community Radio, Smile FM, Izwi Lomzansi FM, and Channel Islam Radio.

Print coverage of the event included an article titled, ‘Pelesane honours Minister Motsoaledi’s invitation’ in Lentswe, and in an article titled, ‘SA steps up fight against TB’ published in the Cape, KZN, Limpopo/Mpumalanga/North-West and Gauteng editions of the Daily Sun.

05 Sep 2018

Official launch of the SA TB Caucus

The SA TB Caucus, officially launched on Tuesday, 04 September, is the local chapter of the Global TB Caucus, which consists of over 2 300 parliamentarians from 130 countries around the world.

 Launched in both houses of parliament:

On the 4th September, both houses of parliament, the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces, resolved to establish the SA TB Caucus. Once MPs left the chamber they were asked to sign a pledge – publicly declaring their commitment to ending TB in South Africa.

The Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of Legislatures (MPLs) who

joined the SA TB Caucus have been asked to:

  • Raise awareness of TB in their constituencies
  • Engage with media to raise awareness of TB
  • Monitor government funding for health and the performance of health programmes
  • Pass legislation that creates an enabling environment for healthcare in general, and TB services in particular

 Launch event brings together TB survivors, MPs and civil society

The official launch took place later that night at the Westin Hotel in Cape Town. It was a special evening which brought together TB survivors, ambassadors and TB champions from all walks of life. Miss South Africa, Tamaryn Green, and the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr L Tsenoli, MP, both shared their own personal experiences with TB – as did programme director of the event, media personality Gerry Elsdon.

The event hoped to ‘break the stigma’ often associated with TB, by bringing together a number of celebrity TB ambassadors (many of whom have also been affected by the disease). These included Prince Nhlanganiso Zulu, Lira, Kelly Khumalo, Thabo Pelesane, Zolelwa Sifumba, Basetsana Kumalo and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.

The event was hosted by Dr Aaron Motsoaledi (Minister of Health) together with Ms Baleka Mbete (Speaker of the National Assembly) and Ms Thandi Modise (Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces), who have agreed to act as patrons of the SA TB Caucus. All three signed the declaration on stage at the close of the evening.

In the words of Dr Aaron Motsoaledi:

“Members of parliament must be at the centre of challenges that face the citizens they represent. No other battle desperately requires the leadership, advocacy and guidance by parliamentarians than the battle against TB.”

See photos here, courtesy of Reinhardt Hamman Photography