Regional Parliamentary Front against Tuberculosis in the Americas launched in Brazil

16 Mar 2016
Regional Parliamentary Front against Tuberculosis in the Americas launched in Brazil

Unite to end TB

To help intensify the control of Tuberculosis, delegates from Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Nicaragua and Bolivia have formed a Regional Parliamentary Front Against Tuberculosis in the Americas. It aims to work closely with governments and civil society to promote assignment of financial resources for activities to end the disease, in the context of the new Global End TB Strategy and the Plan of Action for Prevention and Control of Tuberculosis 2016-2019 of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

Brasilia, Brazil, March 16, 2016 (PAHO/WHO)—To help intensify the control of Tuberculosis, delegates from Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Nicaragua and Bolivia have formed a Regional Parliamentary Front Against Tuberculosis in the Americas. It aims to work closely with governments and civil society to promote assignment of financial resources for activities to end the disease, in the context of the new Global End TB Strategy and the Plan of Action for Prevention and Control of Tuberculosis 2016-2019 of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

Unite to end Tuberculosis"If the governments and parliamentarians of the region of the Americas commit to implement integrated policies for the prevention and control of tuberculosis, as well as adequate financing, social protection for patients and access to high quality medications, in two decades we could end the disease", said Dr. Francisco Becerra, Assistant Director of PAHO/WHO, at the launch of the Regional Parliamentary Front, in the National Congress of Brazil.

The call to form this group was made by the Brazilian Parliamentary Front against Tuberculosis and by PAHO/WHO, in the context of World Tuberculosis Day, celebrated March 24 each year.

About 23,000 people died due to tuberculosis and 280,000 became ill with the disease in 2014 in the region of the Americas, estimates show. Although case detection has increased in recent years, an estimated 65,000 people were not diagnosed, making it difficult to achieve the goal of ending the disease.

PAHO/WHO is calling on all sectors to unite efforts against the disease. The experiences of parliamentary work serve as an example and a call to other parliamentarians in the region to become involved in the fight against tuberculosis. The recently launched Parliamentary Front will join with the Global Tuberculosis Caucus, which brings together parliamentarians from around the world to help achieve an integrated response.

The Regional Parliamentary Front has committed to follow a road map which includes:

  • Establishing national parliamentary groups to require that governments inform of their actions, monitor spending and work closely with civil society;
  • Position the issue of tuberculosis within other networks and political organizations;
  • Promote mainstreaming of the topic of tuberculosis;
  • Work with other parliamentarians to ensure that the response is global;
  • Promote the human rights of those affected by the disease;
  • Call on involved ministers to inform the Parliament on progress in the fight against the disease at least once a year;
  • Work with all involved partners and the Secretariat of the Global TB Parliamentary Caucus to monitor its progress.

Legislators in the Parliamentary Front currently include Antonio Brito of Brazil; Luis Enrique Gallo of Uruguay; Luz Salgado of Peru; Elías Octavio Iñiguez Mejía of México; Arturo Murillo of Bolivia; and Argentina Parrajón of Nicaragua.

Brazilian representative Antonio Brito said the Legislative Branch has a fundamental role to play in prevention and control of tuberculosis. Parliamentarians should evaluate and propose changes that guarantee the wellbeing of their citizens, looking for improvements in legislation in the areas of health, social assistance, urban development and housing, factors which favor the persistence of tuberculosis, he added.

PAHO/WHO promotes the implementation of the Plan of Action for Prevention and Control of Tuberculosis 2016-2019, approved by the Ministers of Health of the Americas at the PAHO Directing Council in October 2015. This plan recommends strengthening tuberculosis programs for prevention and early detection of the disease, as well as the implementation of new diagnostic technologies and research.

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The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) works with the countries of the Americas to improve the health and quality of life of their peoples. Founded in 1902, it is the world's oldest international public health organization. It serves as the regional office for the Americas of WHO and is the specialized health agency of the inter-American system.

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