TB Accountability Consortium

TB Accountability Consortium

Budget 2024: Allocations for TB services  once again not a priority for South Africa

21 February 2024

The TB Accountability Consortium welcomes Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana’s additional investments in health, his  allocations to provinces and his financial commitment to the National Health Insurance.  

But we reiterate the call to make TB a national health emergency with its own line item in the budget. 

In his budget vote this week Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana allocated R848 billion over the MTEF to health, noting R11.6 billion would address the 2023 wage agreement, R27.3 billion for infrastructure, and R1.4 billion for the NHI grant over the same period.

According to Godongwana, the allocation of R1.4 billion to the NHI will ⁠help towards building a national health information system and digital patient records among other system strengthening mechanisms.  TBAC welcomes this move as the consortium has been calling for improved use of the government’s data services to guide the TB response. 

However, the consortium remains concerned about the allocations for health services specifically, and ensuring that TB will still be accommodated. 

TB services are mainly provided for in provincial budgets and the allocations fall within the District Health Services grant  along with other primary health care services. 

Unless TB programme budgets are protected, it is unclear that people who require TB services will be able to get access to this important health need. 

Project co-ordinator Sihle Mahonga Ndawonde said: “South Africa accounts for around 3% of the global TB burden with 304 000 infections and 54 000 deaths annually. With such mortality rates, it should be recognised that TB remains the leading cause of death from a single infectious disease.”

“We need to know that there are allocations that will ensure that TB services are given to people on the ground,” said Mahonga Ndawonde. 

On the day of the budget vote, TBAC joined the Treatment Action Campaign, Unite Behind and other civil society organisations to march to the Cape Town City Hall where the budget was being delivered to reiterate its call to make TB a national health emergency and for there to be a focus on TB program allocations. 

We echo the 2021 call made by the Treatment Action Campaign in declaring TB a health emergency. Although there has been improvement in TB programme performance, we are still left with a National TB Recovery Plan that has no clear resourcing allocation at provincial and district levels. The imperative need for implementing a program aimed at diminishing TB’s grip on our communities remains critical. As the TBAC, we present the following key requests to in the Budget Policy Statement tabled by the Finance Minister:

1.     Safeguard TB funding: The government possesses the authority to safeguard funding for TB services including the TB Recovery Plan. Despite the development of the plan, there’s still a lack of provisioning and implementation at provincial level. 

2.     Enhance accountability: There’s a pressing need for improved accountability across all tiers of the health system, ranging from local facilities to district, provincial, and national levels. This is crucial for ensuring an increase in TB treatment rates and a decrease in mortality rates.

In the spirit of solidarity and with firm belief in the possibility of change, we entreat our government in line with the global TB theme: No. We cannot end TB without the adequate resources. Put our citizens first in guaranteeing more lives are saved with adequate health services.  

For more information call project co-ordinator Sihle Mahonga Ndawonde on  0725689767 or smahonga@rhap.org.za


About TBAC:  The TB Accountability Consortium is a coalition which aims to strengthen TB care in SA by consolidating the implementation of TB policies, technical solutions and advocacy efforts on a national and provincial level to ultimately improve care. TBAC is an initiative of the Rural Health Advocacy Project.