Tuesday, June 6

Ministry of Health Commemorates World Tuberculosis Day

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By Yunus S Saliu

The Ministry of Health on Friday joined the rest of the world to commemorate World Tuberculosis Day, the event was held at the TB office complex behind MDI next to Kanifing General Hospital Mortuary in Kanifing.

Every March 24th, World Tuberculosis Day is commemorated to raise public awareness about TB and to reaffirm national and international commitment to tuberculosis (TB) response.

Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Health Dr. Momodou T Nyassi said that World TB Day is a day set aside to remind people about the global health threats presented by Tuberculosis and to recognize the collective efforts of all countries and partners in the fight against TB.

According to him, TB remains a disease of great public health importance globally and The Gambia is no exception because “worldwide, TB is the 13th leading cause of death and the second leading infectious killer after Covid-19 – above HIV/AIDS.”

Annually, he continued, an estimated 10 million people fall ill with TB, a total of 1.6 million people died from TB in 2021, and “globally, TB incidence is falling at about 2% per year and between 2015 and 2020 the cumulative reduction was 11%.”

He said this was over halfway to the End TB Strategy milestone of a 20% reduction between 2015 and 2020. The Gambia has equally registered significant milestones in reducing the TB incidence from 153 per 100000 population in 2020 to 149 per 100000 population in 2021.

In 2022, he noted that the Ministry of Health expanded TB services to four new sites to improve coverage in a bid to achieve Universal Health Coverage by bringing care closer to the people.

Dr. Desta Tiruneh, WR of WHO dilated on this year’s World TB day theme – “YES, We Can End TB,” he said the theme aims to inspire hope and encourage high-level leadership, increased investments, adoption of innovations, accelerated action, and multisectoral collaboration to combat the TB epidemic.

He expatiated on the significant progress made while saying the day reminded them of the significant challenge of TB in the country and “despite challenges we have made significant strides in the Gambia.”

Among other officials that delivered speeches at the commemoration included Deputy Director NAS; African CDC; among others while a comprehensive power point presentation was made on tuberculosis.