Commemoration Of The 2012 World Tuberculosis Day And Commissioning Of The Multi–Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) Treatment Centre
Mar 23, 2012 - It gives me great pleasure to be here today on the occasion of the 2012 World Tuberculosis Day, and to commission this state-of-the-art Multi-Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) Treatment Centre, - the first of its kind in this part of the country.
As you are aware, health is an integral policy of our 10-point agenda, and the thrust of our health policy is to bring health and welfare services within the reach of all Lagos State citizens.
Diseases fall into 2 major groups – communicable and non-communicable diseases. While non-communicable diseases like cancers, hypertension and diabetes have become more of a concern, communicable diseases are the major burden of disease in our environment. And tuberculosis is one of them.
We all know that Tuberculosis is the leading curable cause of death from infectious disease in this part of the world. And in spite of the fact that the World Health Organization declared the disease a global emergency in 1993, as well as the numerous efforts put in place for its control, - Tuberculosis remains a major health challenge.
The recent emergence of multi-drug-resistant Tuberculosis is of particular concern to us, as most of those affected are unlikely to be able to afford the necessary treatment.
This has necessitated our intervention – with the aid of our development partners, - to support the process of managing these patients.
This centre is one of such interventions. In addition, we have instituted both health and non-health responses to help mitigate the increasing trend of Tuberculosis infection in our society.
We have scaled up the number of Directly Observed Treatment Short Course (DOTS) centres, we have trained health workers on the management of Tuberculosis and we have improved the ability of the Mainland Hospital to respond to epidemics of communicable diseases.
We have also put in place disease surveillance and notification machinery, responsible for tracking, reporting and responding to incidences of communicable diseases in the state.
Furthermore, an intensive community awareness campaign on the prevention and recognition of the early signs of TB is a continuous endeavour, and every World Tuberculosis Day has been an opportunity to restate our commitment towards reducing this scourge.
The theme of this year's World TB Day is "Stop TB in My Lifetime". This is a laudable and achievable goal, but it can only be achieved if we resolve to work together to detect, treat and prevent the disease. It is a collective responsibility.
Regrettably, Lagos State has an unacceptably high incidence of Tuberculosis and the factors that promote its spread keep staring us in the face.
With a population of almost 20 million, the reasons are not far-fetched. They include high rural-urban migration leading to rapid urbanization, overcrowding, the emergence of slums and increasing strain on available resources and infrastructure.
They also include our habits, attitude and disposition towards the disease.
Whilst our Administration will continue to address those infrastructure deficits, there is a lot we as citizens can do. We can stay healthy by eating healthy, by exercising daily and by avoiding damaging drug use.
We can also prevent new infections and progression to Multi-Drug-Resistant TB by changing our habits.
We should cover our mouths when we cough or sneeze, we should keep crowded areas well ventilated, we should stop spitting around indiscriminately and instead of avoiding TB patients, we should show them love and encourage them to keep up with their treatments.
Let me conclude by commending our partners – Family Health International (FHI), Institute of Human Virology in Nigeria (IHVN), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) - for their tremendous support in this important area of developing infrastructure to control TB.
I want to thank especially, the Rotary Club for their donation of a ward to this hospital and for allowing that ward to be made a part of this new complex.
To the members of the Lagos State Health Team whose efforts have ensured that this service is well put together for the benefit of the people of Lagos State, I say well done and keep the flag flying!
Together, we will succeed in stopping TB in our lifetime.
On this note, I declare this centre open to the glory of God and in service to mankind.
Eko o ni baje o!
Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN
Governor of Lagos State