134 MPs sign Barcelona Declaration on TB

Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa is seen during the opening of parliament.

A TOTAL of 134 Members of Parliament (MPs) had by yesterday signed the Barcelona Declaration which aims to raise awareness on tuberculosis (TB).


Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee Health, Ruth Labode said among the signatories of the petition were Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda and President of the Senate Edna Madzongwe, and their deputies Mabel Chinomona and Chen Chimutengwende respectively.

Labode said that if TB degenerates to the drug resistant strain (DR-TB), it could cost up to $31 000 to treat a single patient.

mudenda Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda. [CAPTION]

“Already 134 MPs have signed the Barcelona Declaration which is a worldwide issue where political representatives of various peoples of the world, recognise that every man, woman and child should be able to live their lives free from the tyranny of the disease (TB),” Labode said.

“MPs declared that TB has killed a greater number of people than any other infectious disease in human history and continues to be responsible for 1,5 million deaths a year (globally), often affecting the most vulnerable, and that it should be a global priority.”

The current rate of combating TB worldwide was reportedly slow, hence the disease will remain a threat to the socio-economic wellbeing of millions of people for decades to come.

“DR-TB demonstrates a collective failure to address the disease properly, imposing an often unbearable burden of treatment on patients and threatening to set back progress against the disease at the grave cost of millions of lives, and that it should be the focus for urgent action,” read the declaration.

Other issues observed in the Barcelona Declaration included that current drugs for TB treatment were inadequate, that vaccines and diagnostics were insufficient, and that the commercial market for pharmaceutical development has failed TB patients.