FG pledges to implement recommendations of UN mission on TB, NCDs

Federal Ministry of Health has pledged to implement the  recommendations and summary presented by the Joint UN Mission to Nigeria on Tuberculosis (TB) and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the recommendations and summary were presented at a meeting which started on Monday in Abuja and ended on Friday, with a news conference at the end of the meeting.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said that the Federal Government would effectively implement the recommendations to reduce the burden of TB and NCDs in the country.

He added that the magnitude of NCDs and TB problem in Nigeria made the ministry to invite the mission to support the efforts of the government in fighting the diseases.

He said “the mission is here to support and strengthen coordinated policy, strategy and programming in Nigeria in the fight against the diseases, which both feature prominently in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“The mission will also help us to monitor progress toward the attainment of SDGs; specifically, this mission aims to strengthen multi-sectorial coordination framework for NCDs and TB in Nigeria.”

The minister emphasised the commitment of the government to implement the recommendations,  saying “we cannot achieve SDGs if we continue to allow TB and NCDs to afflict our people.’’

According to the 2019 WHO Global Report, Nigeria is first in Africa and sixth globally among the 30 high TB burden countries in the world.

The country is also one of the 14 countries in the world with triple burden of TB, HIV associated TB and multi-drug resistant TB.

Dr Clement Peter, the Officer-in-Charge of World Health Organisation (WHO) in Nigeria, said the organisation was looking forward to supporting Nigeria in implementing some the recommendations.

Peter, who was represented by Dr Rex Mpazanje, said implementation of the recommendations would help to reduce the burden of the diseases in the country.

Ms Diana Weil, the Lead, Strategy, WHO, Global TB Programme, WHO Headquarters in Geneva, spoke on some of the summary and recommendations from the meeting.

Weil said that the meeting commended government for the leadership, strategic planning and ambitious targets and commitments to end TB and address NCDs.

She said that addressing the enormous societal and economic burden of these diseases required dramatically increased and sustained domestic financing for primary health and disease priorities.

She noted that “access to diagnosis, treatment and prevention is vital to primary healthcare; access is a big challenge that government needs to address.

“Multisectoral response should be galavanised to ensure whole-of-government and whole-of-society ownership and accountability.”

Mr Dudley Tariton, the Programme Specialist, Health and Development, UN Development Programme (UNDP), also spoke on the summary from the meeting.

He said the lack of public awareness on these diseases, including among healthcare workers, was a major barrier and called for campaign from the highest level of government, involving states and the local authority.

Tariton said “this requires a human rights-based and people-centred response that leaves no one behind, including refugees and migrants.

“UN systems and other stakeholders are committed to supporting government’s action on TB and NCDs on the path ti Universal Health Coverage (UHC).”

NAN reports that the delegation’s first-ever joint programming mission on NCDs and TB is the largest, comprising over 30 officials from 12 UN agencies, USAID, African Development and Public Health England. (NAN)

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