From 25 to 28 March 2019, European parliamentarians representing France, Italy and Norway, accompanied by Friends of the Global Fund, travelled to Niamey, Niger, as part of the 6th replenishment of funds to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
During their stay in Niger, the members of the parliamentary mission met with stakeholders involved in the fight against the three diseases and carried out field visits to see first-hand the progress made. The mission was also received in audience by the Nigerien authorities.
The purpose of these meetings and site visits was to enable parliamentarians to better understand the conditions under which Niger is leading the fight against HIV, tuberculosis and particularly malaria in order to better equip themselves to conduct advocacy with their countries for the effective replenishment of funds to fight the three diseases.
During their travels, the European parliamentarians were accompanied by national parliamentarians, the President of the National Multisectoral Coordinating Council (CCM Niger), the Coordinator of the National Malaria Control Programme, representatives of Catholic Relief Service, a delegation from the Global Fund visiting Niger, representatives of Niger Civil Society and Civil Society For Malaria Elimination.
At the end of these their stay, the members of the mission exchanged with:
- The President of the Republic Head of State, H.E. Mr. Issoufou Mahamadou;
- The President of the National Assembly;
- The Prime Minister;
- The First Lady of the Republic Hadjia Aissata Issoufou;
- The Minister of Public Health;
- The Network of Parliamentarians Against HIV, Tuberculosis & Malaria;
- The Secretary General of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry;
- Civil society organizations/NGOs (RENIP+, SONGES, Animas Sutura, RAIL Sida, ONEN, MVS, FNPH, OCASS, the Citizen Strategic Monitoring of Health Policies Platform, BALLAL).
They also took the opportunity to visit three hospitals and see the conditions under which patients are cared for.
It was also an opportunity for Nigerien civil society to officially hand over advocacy letters to local authorities, European parliamentarians and the private sector so that Niger could set an example and keep its commitment to increasing domestic resources. The letters were delivered to the following authorities: the President of the National Assembly, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Public Health, the delegation of European Parliamentarians, the Secretary General of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Handicrafts (representing the Nigerien private sector) and the First Lady, Mrs Aissata Issoufou, patron of the fight against malaria, guest of honour at the International Malaria Day to be held on 25 April in Paris (France) organised by RBM Partnership to End Malaria.
It is important to note that the President of the Republic, H.E. Mr Issoufou Mahamadou, Head of State, has been appointed Champion of the 6th replenishment of the Global Fund scheduled for October 2019 in Lyon (France). As a result, he reassured parliamentarians that he would continue his advocacy with his African peers. He informed the delegation that an advocacy meeting had been held on the margins of the African Union Heads of State Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Head of State clearly mentioned the importance of the role of civil society in the fight against malaria in Niger.
The President of the National Assembly has made three strong commitments, namely:
- Funding for the action plan of the Parliamentary Network to Combat HIV, Tuberculosis & Malaria;
- The inclusion of a parliamentary day on these three diseases in the agenda of the next ordinary session and;
- The commitment to unanimously vote the bill on the establishment of a national public-private fund for the fight against these diseases in Niger.
The Prime Minister, Head of Government and the Minister of Public Health strongly supported the importance of the Global Fund’s contribution to Niger.
The First Lady, for her part, pledged to relay the plea in return for strengthening vector control in the response to malaria. This will make it possible to reduce de facto the astronomical costs of medicines.
In conclusion, the MEPs leave satisfied with this more than inspiring mission and have greatly appreciated the dynamism and efforts of Niger’s civil society.