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Nigeria, others committed to end TB by 2030

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By Usman Oladimeji

Delivering TB care services to 90% of the population is part of the goal.

To speed up the process of eradicating Tuberculosis (TB) by the year 2030, Nigeria, other UN Member States, Civil Society representatives, and other stakeholders have signed a declaration. A number of ambitious objectives for the next five years are outlined in the document, such as delivering services for TB prevention and care to 90% of the population, offering social benefit packages for those suffering from the disease, and getting at least one new vaccine approved. About 1.6 million people lost their lives to tuberculosis in 2021, making it the second most extensive infectious killer behind COVID-19. The only TB vaccination in use now dates back more than a hundred years.

The political commitment was made by all 193 Member States and stakeholders at a high-level meeting on the fight against tuberculosis at the ongoing 78th UN General Assembly. UN General Assembly President Dennis Francis asked, “Why, after all the progress we have made – from sending man to the moon, to bringing the world to our fingertips – have we been unable to defeat a preventable and curable disease that kills over 4,400 people a day?” Tuberculosis, often known as the white plague and consumption, has been a human health concern for centuries.

Complete eradication of tuberculosis is one of SDG health goals.

It is caused by bacteria and mainly affects the lungs, and it is treated with antibiotics. The World Health Organization committee formed to promote the creation and fair distribution of new vaccinations convened just recently for the first time. Complete eradication of the disease is one of the health goals of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which outline a more equitable and environmentally friendly future for the world by the decade’s end. Countries set a goal five years ago of providing treatment to 40 million individuals; they have so far reached 34 million. They had hoped to treat 30 million people for preventative purposes, but only reached 15 million.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed has urged for measures to address the root causes of tuberculosis, including Poverty, malnutrition, inadequate healthcare, the prevalence of HIV infections, Diabetes, Mental Health issues, and smoking. She also urged governments to establish universal health coverage that includes TB screening, prevention, and treatment, and to work to eradicate the stigma associated with the disease. She elaborated on what prompted her to be personally involved in this worldwide movement against it.

TB stigmatization is widespread in many third world nations.

In her words, “My commitment is my personal story: losing my father to TB at 50, 37 years ago this week. “Today we have the tools to diagnose, treat, and what we need right now is a vaccine. Let’s end TB now. It is possible,” she said. Author Handaa Rea of Mongolia, who herself survived the diseases, recently called on international leaders to address the disease from both a medical and social perspective. She had written in detail the stigmatization she faced because of her tuberculosis diagnosis, saying that it was widespread in many third world nations and prevented hundreds of thousands of patients from getting the care they needed.

Ms. Rea explained that women and girls are more negatively affected by stigma because they are held to higher standards of health, wellness, and physical attractiveness. When people make assumptions about you based on your illness, like “she’s too skinny” because you have tuberculosis, “she’s unworthy of marriage” because you have or have had TB in the past, or “she keeps having TB because she’s irresponsible,” you’re experiencing stigma. As a society, we are bullying tuberculosis patients to the brink of an entirely avoidable death and this must end, she added. WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus remarked on the incredible enthusiasm of the room, where participants frequently chanted “End TB, yes we can!”

We now have access to information, resources, and political will.

He was pleased with the political declaration that had been reached by consensus prior to the meeting. The United Nations’ highest representative body, the 193-nation General Assembly, will be presented with it. The UN scribe lamented that our predecessors died from tuberculosis for centuries before anyone understood the disease, its causes, or how to treat it. But today, we have access to information, resources, and political will that they could only have imagined. We also have a chance to completely eradicate the disease that no previous generation has had.


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