Before the first-ever United Nations High-Level Meeting on TB, Dr. Abel Nkolo, Chief of Party for the Defeat TB Project to left. Standing next to him are other Ugandan leaders on TB, including (L-R) Hon. Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, Uganda Minister of Health; Dr. Henry Mwebesa, Acting Director of General Health Services. Ugandan Ministry of Health; Dr. Stavia Turyahabwe, Assistant Commissioner for the Uganda National TB/Leprosy Programme; Hon. Julius Peter Moto, High Commissioner of the Republic of Uganda in London. Photo credit: URC

A URC-led project helped launch a dialogue to educate Ugandan political leaders on how to end tuberculosis (TB) in Uganda.

The Uganda MOH and the National TB and Leprosy Program – in collaboration with the USAID Defeat TB Project, led by URC – organized a TB Advocacy Dialogue on Sept. 13 targeting the country’s Members of Parliament (MPs).

The dialogue included an orientation to raise awareness about TB amongst the MPs and a discussion of the implications of the shortfalls in TB funding in Uganda. It served as a call to action for the MPs.

The dialogue prepared Ugandan leaders for the first-ever United Nations High-Level Meeting on TB on Sept. 26 in New York City. Leaders from around the world gathered to form commitments on how to ramp up efforts and funding to address TB comprehensively on a global scale.

Tuberculosis, although curable, remains one of the 10 deadliest diseases in 2017, according to the World Health Organization. Of the approximately 10 million people who contracted TB in 2017, 1.3 million died.

MPs Meet MDR-TB Patients

After the meeting, MPs visited the Mulago National Referral Hospital TB ward, meeting multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) survivors, touring the MDR-TB ward, and gained a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities for improving MDR TB and TB services.

During the dialogue, MPs committed to:

  • Increase awareness and understanding of the local TB burden, the challenges of managing drug-resistant-TB, and key actions required to resolve these challenges;
  • Advocate for increased resources and national action towards managing the TB epidemic; and
  • Obtain written commitment to specific actions from the TB Parliamentary Caucus.

Dr. Doreen Birabwa-Male, Deputy Executive Director of the Mulago National Referral Hospital, committed to carry out advocacy for TB by “putting TB in everyone’s face.” Her priorities for the Mulago TB ward are developing a TB Centre of Excellence, ensuring appropriate and safe transportation for TB patients – such as ambulances – and increasing human resources for TB management at the hospital.

Additionally, TB implementing partners committed to increased collaboration with the Ugandan MOH and all TB stakeholders to contribute to ending TB in Uganda.