…..Reitraites 9th Assembly Commitment towards eradicating TB
The House of Representatives Spokeman, Rep. Benjamin Kalu (APC-Abia) has bagged the 2021 award for the Outstanding Legislative Contribution towards Improved Tuberculosis (TB) Policy and Funding in the country
The award ceremony organised by Stop TB Partnership Nigeria in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) USAID, National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme among others in Abuja was in honour and recognizion of those who have contributed to the fight against the deadly disease ( Tuberculosis)
Rep Kalu while accepting the award disclosed that the feat was made possible by the support of a distinguished community of advocates who worked relentlessly to improve the government’s response to TB.
While disclosed that TB remains a matter of grave national concern; he said, ending the TB epidemic by 2030 is one of the health targets of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of which Nigeria is a signatory.
According to him, “I believe that the scourge of TB is one that we will end but we can only do this as a united and coordinated front
“And as a legislator for whom health remains a top legislative priority, I am committed to seeking optimised government intervention in the crisis of TB.
“Let me be clear to very one in this hall, this community of impassioned advocates waging the good fight against TB is my constituency.
On the floor of the House, when I speak for my people of Bende Federal Constituency, and I speak for all Nigerians, I also speak for all the organisations and caucuses fighting to end TB in Nigeria and the world at large,’’ he said.
The House Spokesperson assured that the 9th Assembly, under the leadership of the Speaker, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, the commitment towards ending TB remains a top priority in the legislative agenda for health.
He said that the House applied legislative actions to mitigate the adverse effect of COVID-19 on the TB response services during the peak of the pandemic.
According to him, “We have since then continued to tackle TB through our oversight functions and parliamentary debates, one of which was a motion sponsored by myself on the floor of the parliament, on the need to intervene in the public health crises of TB in Nigeria.
“That motion yielded a public hearing which will be held soon to prepare a joint resolution that will be presented to the house for necessary action”.
Hon. Kalu said that it was concerning that TB accounted for more than 10 per cent of all deaths in Nigeria with around 245,000 deaths and 590,000 new cases yearly.
He said that it was also concerning that in 2019, of the 384 million dollars required for TB response in Nigeria, 88,320,000 dollars which represents 23 per cent was funded by International donors.
According to him, only a meagre 26,880 dollars which represents 7 per cent was mobilised from domestic sources, leaving 268.8 million dollars, which represents 70 per cent unfunded.
The lawmaker said that the purpose of government according to Constitution was the security and welfare of the people.
Kalu said only few matters affect the collective welfare of Nigerians more than the scourge of TB, pledging to commit himself to the cause of ending TB in Nigeria.