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From Left: Hajia Nana Shettima, wife of the VP, Prof. Ali Pate, Nigeria's 1st Lady Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Head of Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, Dr Queen Ogbuji- Ladipo, Executive Director Global Stop Tb Partnership Geneva, Dr Lucica Ditiu and the Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Tunji Alausa while the First Lady was being decorated as the Global and National Stop Tb Champion held at the State House Abuja on Thursday 28th March 2024.

..,.. As First Lady Conferred With Global and National Stop TB Champion

..... Renewed Hope Initiative donates N1bn to fight TB   -Pate.

The Federal Goverment, through the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, has reaffirmed its commitment to end the Tuberculosis epidemic in Nigeria. 

This was the disclosure of the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Mohammed Ali Pate at the commemoration of the World TB Day with the theme ‘Yes we can end TB, no Gree for TB, check Am O!’ held recently at the State House Conference Hall Aso Villa, Abuja.

The event, which was graced by prominent dignitaries such as the Wife of the President, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, who was conferred as Global and National Stop TB Champion by Stop TB Champion Geneva, Switzerland. 

According to the Minister, “the event is held annually to raise public awareness about TB and  efforts made to prevent and treat the disease. It also affords us an opportunity to assess the progress made towards achieving the End TB Strategy  and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) target”.

Professor Pate asserted that TB continues to be the second leading cause of death from a single infection agent estimating 97,900 TB deaths in Nigeria in 2022, which is not acceptable in the present regime,hence, “at the inception of this Government and in line with the Federal Government Renewed Hope Agenda, my Ministry launched Nigeria's Health Sector Renewal Programme anchored on a Four-Point agenda aimed at revolutionizing Nigeria’s health sector under the visionary leadership of present President Ahmed Bola Tinubu”.

The Minister stated that the agenda will improve governance and population health outcomes, unlock the healthcare value chain and provide health security for all Nigerians. 

"Efforts made at ending TB Epidemic in Nigeria have resulted in the expansion of TB treatment services (DOT centres) to about 22,000 health facilities with high-model Genexpect equipment, instituted a strong specimen referral network utilising a hub- -and - -----spoke model for the transport of over 2.4 million samples in 2023 for TB tests among other innovative activities, interventions and targeted actions, in addressing the scourge,” he stated.

He noted that there are still missing significant number of TB cases undiagnosed in 2023, hence the need to find the missing cases and address the challenges, “we must address the social determinants of TB such as poverty, inequality and limited access to healthcare” adding that the First Lady of Nigeria has officially been engaged as the Global and National Stop TB champion and would prioritize the needs of vulnerable populations through economic empowerment improving access to quality health services and other empowerment programme therefore enhancing our efforts in addressing the social determinants of TB. 

He assured that the Ministry is putting in place an efficient,resilient, equitable, affordable and quality health system to improve health outcomes for all non-communicable and communicable diseases including TB, AIDS and Malaria by delivering preventive, promotive and curative services at primary healthcare facilities and in all our hospitals, while new innovations are adopted in the health sector to meet the goals of saving lives and reducing the physical and financial pains faced by Nigerians.

Expressing his gratitude to the First Lady and other partners for identifying with the Ministry on this course, the Minister said that collaborating with development partners has resulted in a record of TB care notification in 2023 with the country notifying over 360,000 TB cases. “This is the first time ever since the inception of the TB control efforts over 35 years ago that we crossed the 300,000 marks in TB notification about 98 per cent of the patients in 2023 had documented HIV status.

Speaking after her investiture, the First Lady of Nigeria stated that following the adoption of the political declaration at the United Nations high-level meeting held in New York in September 2023, building on this commitment, His Excellency, Bola Ahmed Tinubu is committed to the fight against Tuberculosis and achieving the goals outlined in the political declaration alongside other national goals towards ensuring a healthier and more prosperous Nigeria, adding that Nigeria has made remarkable progress in the fight against Tuberculosis and is still not relenting in its efforts to eradicate TB even before the target date of 2030.

While calling on the Government at all levels, individuals, private and public sectors to intensify their efforts towards ending Tuberculosis by ensuring that everyone has access to quality TB diagnosis and treatment services, she enjoined first ladies who had become TB champions of their respective states to use their exalted position to amplify awareness about TB, end the stigma associated with it and help patients to access available treatment and support. 

Commending the Ministry, Government at all levels, National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme and all other agencies under the Ministry, stakeholders and development partners working tirelessly to eliminate TB in Nigeria by 2030”, she announced donation of N1bn from the Renewed Hope Initiative in support of the fight to end TB scourge by 2030.

Earlier, the Minister of State, Dr Tunji Alausa explained that “TB cuts across various sectors as the drivers of the diseases include malnutrition,  overcrowding, HIV, and diabetes hence our approach to the control of the disease is multisectoral”.

In his good will message, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo, Country Representative, World Health Organisation (WHO), Nigeria stated that it is important to have a dedicated fully funded budget to facilitate implementation of TB activities in the country. This will reduce the burden of affected communities and ensure provision of required Commodities to manage TB patients and contacts.

This was contained in a statement issued and signed by Patricia Deworitshe, the Director Press and Public Relations Department of the Ministry.

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