By Hassan Zaggi
The Wife of the President, Dr. Aisha Buhari, has solicited for more global support to end Tuberculosis (TB) in Nigeria.
She made the appeal at the 33rd Stop TB Partnership Board meeting which was held virtually, yesterday.
TB is a preventable and curable disease. The year 2020 World Health Organisation (WHO) Global TB Report, disclosed that an estimated 10,000,000 people were afflicted with TB in 2019.
In the same year, the report revealed that, TB killed over 1,200,000 people within the South-East Asia and African regions.
The First Lady who is the Global TB Champion and Ambassador, reiterated her commitment to support activities at the global, regional and national level towards re-galvanizing our efforts to end TB.
“I also still want to solicit for more of your support for Nigeria. As you know, we cannot end TB in the world if we cannot end it in Nigeria. And ending TB in a country as big as Nigeria is a huge task, that is why we need increased multi-sectoral and multi-lateral support.
“One major area where support is much needed is to strengthen the capacity of the Wives of Governors who have been appointed as TB Champions to be effective in their roles.
“And to also support structures at the State level to support them including State Stop TB Partnerships and State Parliamentary TB Caucuses.
“The appointment of the Wives of State Governors as TB Champions has been a game-changer in increasing political awareness and commitment on TB in Nigeria.
“From the reports we are getting since the investiture, I believe if we give more attention and support to the Wives of Governors, Nigeria will make more progress than ever before, towards ending TB in Nigeria,” she said.
Speaking, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, disclosed that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari remained committed to putting an end to the TB epidemic in Nigeria.
He warned that it is impossible to achieve the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) “if we continue to allow our people to be devastated by preventable and curable diseases.”
Ehanire assured that the federal government is committed to working collectively and in synergy with our partners for TB response in Nigeria in the same passion we eradicated wild polio virus.
He applauded the STOP TB Partnership for its leadership role and all the effort to end TB in the world.
“I also want to appreciate other funding and technical partners (especially the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM), WHO and United States Government) for your continued support for TB and the COVID – 19 pandemic response,” he said.
On his part, the Deputy Executive Director, Stop TB Partnership Secretariat, Geneva, Suvanand Sahu, insisted that political commitment was key to putting an end to TB in the affected African countries.
He, however, commended the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government for making efforts in reaching out to missing TB patients to ensure access to care and prevention of further spread.
Sahu, further called for more funding to support the global efforts in order to end the TB in the country.
On the areas that needed more investment, Sahu said they include improve the access in diagnosis, purchase of more diagnostic equipment and improve access to data.