By BARBARA KALU, Abuja –
Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Information and Culture is to partner with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to sensitize the public on measures aimed at tackling Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and Tuberculosis.
The Minister in charge of the Ministry, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this while responding to the request of the WHO Coordinator for NCDs Primary Prevention, Dr Jean-Marie Dangou, who led a high level Joint United Nations Programming Mission on NCDs and Tuberculosis on a courtesy visit to the Minister in Abuja on Monday.
Alhaji Mohammed said the ministry is ready and willing to support WHO as part of its contribution to the quest for Universal Health Coverage.
“We understood that you have come asking for our platforms to use to send out your messages and that is why you can see that all the relevant platforms that the country has are here today. Without being immodest, I think here you are speaking to the converted and we have practical experience,” he said.
The Minister said going by the statistics of deaths caused by NCDs and Tuberculosis in the country, which cut across the young and active population, the ministry is more than willing to partner with WHO on the preventive measures against the diseases.
“What we need from you is the content. We have the platforms but we need the content. In other words, what message do you want to put out there in respect of the non-communicable diseases and tuberculosis.
“You have just told us here that we lose 18 people everyday to tuberculosis and that these people are the youngest and the most active, so we can understand really why this team needs our support and collaboration,” he said.
In his remarks, the WHO Coordinator, Dr. Dangou, said the team is in the country for high level advocacy, with a view to turning into concrete action the commitment made by President Muhammadu Buhari on the Universal Health Coverage at the United Nations General Assembly.
“The objectives of this mission are to make high level advocacy on tuberculosis and non-communicable diseases (NCDs), following the commitment made by the President and Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at the UN high level meetings held during the UN General Assembly in New York…with regard to eliminating tuberculosis and also addressing NCDs. So this mission will like to advocate for going from commitment to action,” he said.
While soliciting the support of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Dr. Dangou stressed the need to also mobilize non-state actors in order to galvanize all stakeholders towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.
The Minister was joined at the event by the heads of the ministry’s public information organs, including the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), News Agency of Nigeria and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN).