Mrs Buhari’s Remarks from the STOP TB Partnerships Board Meeting in New York

In a strategic move in raising global awareness about another deadly disease that has not been given the attention it rightly deserves, the Wife of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, delivered an inaugural speech on the margins of the 71st United Nations General Assembly currently underway in New York City in the United States in an attempt to bring the attention of world leaders to Tuberculosis and its negative effect on the overall global economy.

Under the auspices of Stop TB Partnership, a world renowned Tuberculosis (TB) advocacy group for the eradication of this deadly disease of which Mrs. Buhari’s organization is its Nigerian counterpart, the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari in her speech enjoined Heads of State around the world to include Tuberculosis as part of the challenges confronting the global community as they have come together “this week to discuss the world’s most pressing political and development challenges.” Addressing an audience of medical professionals, NGOs, community representatives, the academia and chief executives of pharmaceutical companies in the US, Mrs Buhari said she was pleased that Tuberculosis—through the intervention of Stop TB Partnership—is beginning to receive “a more deserving label” that is “no longer viewed as inescapable bacteria that must be controlled, but instead as a global emergency that demands a political response at the highest levels.” She said that considering the fact that TB is “the world’s leading cause of death from an infectious disease, we should expect nothing less.”

Aisha Buhari said the world is too interconnected to treat a deadly infectious disease such as TB in isolation or as a regional disease. “The rise of infectious threats poses challenges far beyond the health sector as they can bring down entire economies, spread fear and panic, and impact the very core of society, as shown by the recent Ebola epidemic.”

Mrs. Buhari said “there are few health challenges that demonstrate the need for partnership more than TB.” She emphasized that “no disease in history has crossed as many borders and inflicted as much damage as TB” where loved ones had been lost either in the United States, Nigeria or anywhere in the world. She corroborated her statement with statistical data that her country, Nigeria, is one of the worst hit by TB in the African continent with more than “590,000 people living with tuberculosis.” She said further that “a comprehensive National TB surveillance survey conducted in 2012 revealed the burden to be much larger than previously thought with about 300,000 additional TB cases, and a 400% increase in mortality numbers.”

Mrs. Buhari commended what she called the “impressive leadership of the Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, which has brought together governments, parliamentarians, development partners, private sector, civil society, and others to unite our response to TB in Nigeria.” She also lent support to the recent call by the South African Minister Matsoaledi to convene a United Nations High-Level meeting on TB in September 2017 saying she’s looking forward to assisting through her role as the Wife of the President of Nigeria and a TB CHAMPION to “mobilize other First Ladies all over the world and the Wives of the Governors in Nigeria to support and advance the cause of ending TB.” Mrs. Buhari rounded up her speech on the laps of Nigeria’s Health Minister Prof. Isaac Adewole to shed medical light on TB as it affects Nigeria and what the Buhari administration is doing towards its eradication