Dr Mark Kurt Nawaane
Dr Mark Kurt Nawaane

Ghana risks losing $30m from global TB funding

Ghana risks losing about $30 million from global donor funds for the fight against tuberculosis (TB) for defaulting in raising its counterpart funding.

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The Global Fund has also threatened to withdraw its support for most African countries because they have failed to make sufficient budgetary allocation to augment what they receive internationally.

Ghana's sole representative at this year's African parliamentary TB caucus summit in Nairobi, Kenya, Dr Mark Kurt Nawaane, disclosed this to the Daily Graphic on his return.

The summit, which was a gathering of health committees of the various Parliaments on the continent, was to agree on a common stance for increase in funding at the world summit scheduled for New York, USA, in September this year.

Dr Nawaane, who is the Member of Parliament(MP) for Nabdam and a Deputy Ranking Member on the Health Committee of Ghana, said the various representatives agreed that the fight against TB had been relegated to the background by many African countries.

Allocation

The Deputy Ranking Member on the Health Committee said despite it being a diagnosable and treatable condition, not much attention was paid to it, and neither was budget allocation made to help fight the disease.

"TB is easily diagnosable, treatable and preventable.

Yet, it is a disease that has been overtaken by HIV, AIDS and malaria so far as public health menace is concerned.

And the financial allocation for the treatment of TB is far less than any of these three," he told the Daily Graphic.

Dr Nawaane said in 2018, there was a high level meeting involving African heads of states in New York at which the international body promised to assist the continent achieve its target of reducing TB related mortality by 90 per cent.

"Unfortunately, after that COVID-19 came in and African heads of states lost the fight against TB.

"Most of these countries since then have even failed to make budgetary allocation against the fight," he added.

Statistics

Giving some statistics to show the seriousness of the menace, Dr Nawaane said in 2022, the world recorded 10.6 million infections of which a quarter of that figure came from Africa.

Out of that figure, he said, 1.6 million people died, 500,000 from Africa alone.

"This should tell you that Africa is carrying about 25 per cent of the world’s TB burden which requires urgent attention," he stressed.

Suggestion

The MP is subsequently pushing for all African heads of states to be at the New York summit in person and speak with one voice and advance arguments why funding must not be cut to the continent.

He said the global response to TB should not be less than that of HIV, AIDS and malaria.

Dr Nawaane suggested that the delegation from Africa to the world summit should not be limited to only heads of states but should include civil society organisations (CSOs), advocacy groups and members of the parliamentary caucus who were well vexed on the subject matter.

Also,  the deputy Ranking Member is of the view that a roadmap should be designed to end TB globally by 2030, and leaders must show commitment to that.

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