By Mike Ssegawa
Local leaders in northern Uganda have asked civil society organisation CPAR Uganda Ltd (CPAR) to take to Parliament the fight for bigger budget pie towards tuberculosis prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
Over 30 leaders in the fields of health, local government administrators and politicians who participated in the high level policy workshops on TB in the northern Uganda town of Gulu asked leaders of CPAR to take the fight against the killer disease to Parliament because it is where budgeting decisions are made.
Talking about financing gaps for tuberculosis as one of the biggest hindrance to fighting TB successfully in the country, the leaders told Professor Christopher Garimoi Orach, the Board Chair of CPAR that Parliament cannot afford to turn a deaf ear to the cries of people affected by TB. Prof. Orach is also the Deputy Dean of the Makerere University School of Public Health.
“We think there is need for CPAR Uganda Ltd to take forward this matter of TB in Uganda to the Health Committee of Parliament to look into,” leaders requested, applauding CPAR for taking to the grassroots the discussions and knowledge sharing about the disease that has persisted in Africa for thousands of years.
The leaders in the workshop conducted by CPAR on 27th November in Gulu were selected from 13 district local governments, national government institutions, universities, private hospitals and civil society organisations. Professor Orach, a senior Makerere University don welcomed the responsibility the local leaders tasked CPAR Uganda Ltd and asked them Ugandans to join in. He lauded the informed debate on issues surrounding “the financing of TB services’ saying the discussants, “probed into the issues that we need to pay attention to. I think that they have identified, in various ways, the things that need to be paid attention to.”
The workshops are part of the two year research and advocacy project (January 2016 to December 2017) code named: “Tuberculosis: Working to Empower The Nations’ Diagnostic Efforts (TWENDE) that CPAR Uganda Ltd is implementing as part of a University of St. Andrews led Consortium.
TWENDE is a team of academics and researchers, including the Managing Director of CPAR Uganda Ltd, Ms Norah Owaraga, that have joined together in a consortium to contribute towards breaking the cycle of the TB burden in East Africa.
The lead TWENDE investigators include: research scientists, clinical researchers, pulmonologists, microbiologists, immunologists, paediatricians, physicians, public health specialists and a cultural anthropologist. They are from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and the United Kingdom (UK); and are affiliated to seven institutions that make up the TWENDE Consortium.
TWENDE is funded by the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), under its EDCT2 programme, funded by the Horizon 2020 European Union funding for Research and Innovation.