General News of Thursday, 22 March 2018
Country Representative for the World Health Organization, Dr. Owen L. Kaluwa has challenged government to put in more effort in battling tuberculosis (TB).
Expressing his disappointment in the failure of African countries to tone down the number of TB victims, Dr. Kaluwa argued that the health systems in such countries are able to identify only half of existing TB cases.
He also blamed African governments for putting in little effort in ending the epidemic.
He said, “governments are contributing only a quarter of the resources needed to provide adequate TB services, and 40% of the needs remain unfunded. A TB-free world will only be achieved through leaders who champion efforts to end TB at local level”.
Delivering a speech at the commemoration of the World Tuberculosis Day on Thursday, March 22, 2018, Dr. Owen Kaluwa charged government, policy makers and health experts to ensure that their expertise and power will be used in the fight against tuberculosis.
“I therefore call on the government, parliamentarians and policy makers to drive ambitions plans that will accelerate TB control at national level. I call upon health workers, non-governmental organizations and technicians to maximize the use of proven methods to diagnose and successfully treat all types of TB, and for researchers to do the scientific studies needed to inform policies to help improve and monitor TB services”, he suggested.
He also called for a partnership between government and community leaders, patient advocacy groups and people affected by TB to ensure access to treatment for all.
Dr. Kaluwa urged government to increase domestic funding for TB control and also take responsibility for essential medicines and laboratory supplies.
“Furthermore, government should push for universal health coverage with proven high quality services for TB. Government should lead actions beyond the health sector to address environmental, economic and other factors which increase the risk to TB”, he posited.