Her Excellency, the First Lady of Nigeria, Dr Mrs Aisha Muhammadu Buhari who is also the Global TB Champion and Ambassador has appointed the wife of the Vice-President – Her Excellency, Dr Mrs Oludolapo Osinbajo – and Wives of the State Governors as TB CHAMPIONS to lead the fight against TB in Nigeria. The Investiture Ceremony was held in collaboration with Stop TB Partnership Nigeria at the Conference Room, Office of the First Lady at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on 9th December 2019.
Speaking at the event, Dr Lucica Ditiu, the Executive Director, Global Stop TB Partnership based in Geneva, Switzerland mentioned that Nigeria has one of the highest burdens of TB in the World – number 1 in Africa and sixth globally. She mentioned the importance of ending TB Nigeria and its significance to Africa and the rest of the world. She also stated that more than ever before, leaders from various sectors in the country are needed to lead the fight against TB. Hence, the investiture of the First Ladies is highly significant and commendable.
Also during her presentation, Dr Temitayo Odusote – the TB Team Lead, USAID Nigeria emphasized the role of the First Ladies which mainly are 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 her remarks, Her Excellency, the First Lady of Nigeria, Dr. Mrs. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari who is also the Global TB Champion and Ambassador commended the First Ladies for their work under the Governors’ Wives Advocacy Coalition (GWAC) and implored them to use their position to support all efforts to end TB in their respective States and Nigeria as a whole, noting that the severity of the disease especially on children and women makes it a priority for influencers like the First Ladies. In their communique, the Wives of State Governors promised to support the effort of the First Lady 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 curable if detected early and treated properly. Unfortunately, 18 Nigerians including children still die every hour from this disease. Low case detection and lack of adequate knowledge about TB due to low awareness creation are two of the major challenges facing TB response in Nigeria. To end TB in Nigeria, more political leadership and increased domestic resources are needed especially from government at all levels and from the corporate sector.