By Hassan Zaggi
The newly appointed Executive Director of KNCV Tuberculosis (TB) Foundation, Dr. Mustapha Gidado, has vowed to challenge the existing processes and initiatives in the fight against TB.
He, has, however, pledged to bring new innovations that are simple and adaptable by the frontline healthcare workers.
Dr. Gidado who is the first non-Dutch professional to man the position of Executive Director at KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation situated at The Hague in Netherlands, disclosed this during a virtual media briefing on Monday.
According to him: “What I intend to bring new in the fight against TB is to challenge the status quo. Is to ensure that we bring in innovation that are simple and are adaptable by the frontline healthcare workers.
“My experience being a field worker and now working at the global level is to ensure facilitating the fact that policies, decisions and tools that are being made available must be simple and adaptable to the frontline healthcare workers.
“We cannot be in every healthcare facility, therefore, we must make instruments, strategy and guidelines simple for our frontline healthcare workers to enable them reach all the TB patients.
“My slogan in this position is ‘make it simple’.”
He, however, revealed that the impact of COVID-19 on TB was overwhelming.
According to him, with the massive impact of COVID-19 on health services, it is estimated that over 6.5 million more TB patients will be affected in the near future.
He further said that due to the massive effect of COVID-19 on the health system in general, “we might be recording a million deaths secondary to TB.”
While assuring that KNCV will support countries in the fight against TB, Gidado said: “I will like to assure our colleagues in Nigeria that Nigeria is not the only country that is going to be benefiting from KNCV services, of course, they have benefited for over 10 years, we will continue to provide these services across the globe.
“We are working in more than 20 countries, we provide either direct support or we are underground directly to work with different countries and we will continue to do that.
“We are also privileged to participate in global stakeholders’ meetings and platforms where we can assure our National TB and Leprosy Programme managers that decisions taken, policies that are being developed, guidelines that are being developed at the global level are really real need driven.
“They are going to be based on realities that you are facing on the field and we will like to encourage all the National TB Programmes to reach out to us and we will be very willing with any opportunity of funding to give our helping hand in fighting TB in general.”
Dr. Gidado called on the media to help in fighting the
stigma associated to both the COVID-19 and TB.
While acknowledging that the challenges ahead are numerous, the KNCV Executive Director said: “I take this responsibility very seriously even though it is not a simple task at this moment considering that the health system is facing significant amount of challenges, but I think, I am also equal to the task, we would be able to work in collaboration with all the ministries of health, of course, with our main collaborators, especially, the National TB and Leprosy Control Programme in all the TB high burden countries.
“KNCV is willing and available to provide, in close collaboration with all TB high burden countries to ensure effective quality of care is provided to all TB patients.
“For us as KNCV, we have three pillars of our approach,- we want to ensure that providing quality care is guided by quality evidence and we are also willing to help all the National TB and Leprosy Control Programmes to continue to introduce innovations into the way of their doing things because status quo is not just an option.
“We are going to be supporting system using data to drive our processes and ensuring we work through a system rather than creating multiple parallel programmes all over the place.”