By Hassan Zaggi
Concerned by the near-lack of political will and funding needed to end the scourge of Tuberculosis (TB) in Nigeria, the Wife of the President, Dr (Mrs) Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, has appointed the Wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dalapo Osinbajo and wives of the 36 state governors as TB Champions.
They are to lead the fight against TB in Nigeria.
The investiture ceremony was held in collaboration with Stop TB Partnership Nigeria at the Office of the First Lady, in Abuja.
Findings revealed that 18 Nigerians including children die every hour due to TB related complications.
Unfortunately, however, low case detection and lack of adequate knowledge about TB due to low awareness creation are two major challenges facing TB response in Nigeria.
Speaking during the investiture ceremony, the First Lady of Nigeria, who is also the Global TB Champion and Ambassador, applauded the wives of the 36 state governors for their work under the Governors’ Wives Advocacy Coalition (GWAC).
She, however, charged them to use their position as First Ladies to support all efforts to end TB in their respective states, lamenting that the severity of TB, “especially on children and women makes it a priority for influencers like the First Ladies.”
On her part, the Executive Director, Global Stop TB Partnership, based in Geneva, Switzerland, Dr. Lucica Ditiu, regretted that Nigeria has one of the highest burden of TB in the World – number 1 in Africa and sixth globally.
She reiterated the importance of ending TB in Nigeria and its significance to Africa and the rest of the world.
She noted that the need to bring leaders from various sectors in the country to end the fight against the disease necessitated the investiture of the wife of the Vice President and the 36 states first ladies
In her presentation, the TB Team Lead, USAID Nigeria, Dr. Temitayo Odusote – reiterated the role of the First Ladies which, according to her, are mainly to work with other stakeholders at the national, state and local government levels to create more awareness about TB and advocate for more domestic resources to support TB programs and services.
In a communique at the end of the investiture, the Wives of State Governors vowed to support the effort of the First Lady, Dr (Mrs) Aisha Buhari, to end TB in Nigeria and improve the health of women and children.
Tuberculosis is an infectious airborne disease that is transmitted when individuals inhale the bacteria expelled into the air by infected TB patients through coughing, sneezing or even talking. It is however, curable if detected early and treated properly.