Zimbabwe’s Vice President and Minister of Health sign Barcelona Declaration and commit to ending TB and HIV-TB

On 28 April 2017, Zimbabwe’s Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko and the Minister of Health and Child Care Dr David Parirenyatwa signed the Barcelona Declaration on tuberculosis (TB) and the localised Bulawayo Declaration on HIV-TB to demonstrate the government’s commitment to ending the two diseases by 2030.

Speaking at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair before signing the documents, Vice President Mphoko said combating the two pandemics required strong political will and the active participation of every citizen.

“HIV and TB have tormented us as a nation for a long time…we commit that as leaders we will do all we can to end HIV and TB”, he said.

Dr Parirenyatwa warned that a third of TB cases remain undetected in Zimbabwe, threatening increased community transmission, but commended progress in tackling HIV-TB.

“HIV-TB co-infection rates have declined from 86 percent in 2009 to 70 percent in 2015, largely due to the effective rollout of antiretroviral therapy and preventative therapy”, he said.

“In this regard I am glad to report that we have made tremendous progress in strengthening HIV-TB integrated services. We have established 23 HIV and TB integrated clinics in both urban and rural areas, modelled on the ‘one stop shop’ integrated service provision approach.”

In signing the declarations, the two leaders made a commitment to compel sustained action from government and partners, to secure the necessary international and domestic resources to combat TB and HIV and to press for prioritisation of the diseases on political agendas.

The Barcelona Declaration (PDF 215 KB) is the founding document of the Global TB Caucus, created in October 2014, when The Union and the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on TB co-organised the first Global TB Summit in over 100 years. This summit was held in Barcelona, Spain in conjunction with the 45th Union World Conference on Lung Health.

The Declaration is open to any political representative in the world to sign and is a demonstration of support and solidarity for efforts to end the TB pandemic. It is designed to raise the profile of the disease among politicians and is a tool for advocates wishing to engage local decision-makers. In Zimbabwe the total number of political leaders who have signed the declaration now stands at 140.

The Bulawayo declaration on HIV-TB is a localised commitment that calls for development partners, the ministry and political leaders to come together and support interventions to end the two diseases in the country.

The signing ceremony was attended by members of the Union Office in Zimbabwe, including its director, Dr Christopher Zishiri, as well as civil society, members of the national TB caucus, junior councillors and parliamentarians and the community.

The Union Office in Zimbabwe has played an integral part in strengthening public health in the region and mobilising political action to end TB. At a recent TB screening campaign event Dr Parirenyatwa thanked The Union for its ongoing role in the fight against TB in the country.

Read more about The Union Office in Zimbabwe’s work to engage government representatives in collaborative efforts to end TB and TB-HIV in the region.

Read more about one of the successful TB-HIV programmes implemented by The Union in Zimbabwe