Sub-saharan Africa: Disease Control

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered at on 16 December 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their programmes to help address (1) HIV/AIDS, (2) tuberculosis, and (3) malaria, in sub-Saharan Africa.

Photo of Baroness Sugg Baroness Sugg Conservative

We expect to see a significant impact from the COVID-19 pandemic on cases and deaths from HIV, TB and malaria in sub-Sahara Africa. However, it is not yet possible to quantify the full extent to which COVID-19 has affected these disease burdens. TB case notifications have decreased this year, partly due to laboratory capacity being diverted to COVID-19 testing. The World Health Organisation has predicted that COVID-19 may cause a doubling in malaria deaths in sub-Sahara Africa in 2020. A recent parliamentary report concluded that COVID-19 has disrupted HIV service provision, with marginalised communities worst affected.

The UK is flexing its funding and programming to address these effects by providing up to £1.4 billion for the next 3-year replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM). This includes a contribution to the $1 billion GFATM is making available to countries to respond to COVID-19, reinforce their health systems and adapt their HIV, TB and malaria programming. The UK is also working with governments to ensure that, as far as possible, essential services for these diseases continue, with patients protected from COVID-19. We are also supporting national governments in making sustainable decisions about resource allocation to national COVID-19 programmes.

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