Nigeria’s First Lady, Aisha Buhari, has called on world leaders to put more funding into fast-tracking efforts at ending tuberculosis (TB).
Mrs Buhari, who is also a Global TB Ambassador, made the call during the UN High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis at the UN Headquarters, New York on September, 22.
Mrs Buhari, in a statement issued by the Director of Information to First Lady of Nigeria, Suleiman Haruna, on Monday, challenged leaders to increase political Commitment and be accountable to their promises of increasing resources and supporting effective and sustainable partnerships to end TB.
She was represented at the meeting by an aide to her husband, Hajo Sani.
The meeting was aimed at promoting multi-sectoral Action to take forward the Commitments made last year at the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis.
Mrs. Buhari made reference to the last meeting of African First Ladies alongside the African Union General Assembly in Addis Ababa, where she made it clear that TB should be integrated in the fight against HIV/AIDS as that will harmonize plans and actions relating to the two related killer diseases.
“As a Global TB Champion and Ambassador, I have used my position as the First Lady to promote TB among stakeholders in different sectors, with support from Stop TB Partnership Nigeria and working with wives of state governors.”
She called on governments, United Nations agencies, development partners, academic and research institutions, civil society, media, celebrities, patients and survivors, private sector to close ranks and ensure the implementation of the commitments made at the last meeting.
Although there has been global progress in the first to ending TB globally, Nigeria is one of the countries with the highest burden of TB, drug-resistant TB.
Funding for the control of TB in the country has also remained low as most of the funds are from international donors.
Director-General of World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Ghabreyesus in his speech delivered by Zsuzsanna Jakab, Deputy Director-General, confirmed that successes are being recorded in the fight against TB, but he called on stakeholders to advance action and accelerate progress made so far.
He spoke extensively on the Multisectoral Action Framework (MAF -TB), which aims to support effective accountability of governments and all stakeholders, at global, regional and country levels, in order to accelerate progress to end the tuberculosis epidemic.
The Framework, he further said is aligned fully with the End TB Strategy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. He said now is the moment for action and the time to deliver.
The meeting was jointly organised by the Russian Federation and World Health Organization and was attended by UN agencies, civil society representatives and funding institutions as well as delegations from Russia, South Africa, Vietnam, Japan, Uganda, Zambia, Chad, Oman, and Barbuda and Nigeria.
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