Tuberculosis in Bangladesh and the Role of Parliamentarians

Tuberculosis (TB) is a communicable, but preventable and curable disease. It is one of the top 10 leading causes of death and major ill-health globally. Moreover, Bangladesh is a high TB burden country. 360,000 people became ill and 44,000 people died from TB in 2020, meaning 120 deaths every day. The target 3.3 of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 entails ending the TB epidemic by 2030. 

To end the TB epidemic, advocacy to the highest level of government, collaboration among government entities, civil society and people affected by TB are key. In this connection, engagement of parliamentarians and political commitments from them facilitate an integrated approach to address TB issues. Engagement of political leaders will ensure inclusive community engagement across different geography and diverse population in the national and global endeavour to end TB. Commitment from the Honourable Parliamentarians is very likely to have a trickledown stimulatory effect on the socio-political bodies in their respective constituencies. Also, their engagement invigorates stakeholders’ involvement in the fight against the TB epidemic. It will help curb stigma and social isolation associated with the disease as well.

With a goal of contributing towards End TB Strategy, icddr,b-led USAID’s Alliance for Combating TB in Bangladesh (ACTB) aims to work with the Honourable Parliamentarians in driving multisectoral action to end TB and escalating issues of critical relevance to the highest level of the government. On 16 February 2022, USAID’s ACTB organised a virtual meeting with the Honourable Speaker of the Bangladesh National Parliament Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, MP. In the meeting she said, “Bangladesh Government is determined to prevent and end TB in the country. To this end, Honourable Parliamentarians have a very important role to play: They can come forward to raise awareness on TB issues.”