The National Assembly Member for Sabach Sanjal has disclosed that Tuberculosis is one of the World’s deadliest infectious disease which kills about 1.5 million people, out of almost 10 million people that are infected annually.
Hon. Ousman Bah made this revelation on Tuesday while presenting the motion to support the Barcelona Declaration and the Setting up of a National Parliamentary TB Caucus.
“I rise to move a motion for this August Assembly to support the Global TB Caucus and the ideals and objectives outlined in the Barcelona Declaration,” Hon. Bah stated.
The Declaration according to him, was the outcome of the inaugural Global TB Summit, which was held in conjunction with the 45th Union World Conference on Lung Health held in October 2014 at Barcelona, Spain.
In addition to the Declaration he went on, the Summit also approved the creation of a Global TB Caucus, saying it was reported that the Summit was attended by 3, 300 elected representatives from 134 countries.
The Sabach Sanjal NAM informed deputies that TB is a major problem in The Gambia, thus affecting mostly the productive age groups with majority of patients being males.
He quoted that the results of the National Prevalence Survey (GAMSTEP, 2013) TB prevalence in The Gambia is 128 per/100, 000 of the population, which is 3.8 times lower that the 490/100, 000 WHO estimates.
Hon. Bah however informed deputies that in 2015, 2,463 new cases of all forms of TB were reported, affirming that the overall goal of the National Leprosy and TB Control Programme and partners is to reduce TB prevalence by 2% a year in The Gambia.
He added; “With this background in mind the initiative to create a Global Network of Parliamentarians to help raise the political profile of the disease to accelerate progress towards ending TB epidemic, is indeed laudable,”
He called for the setting up of a National Parliamentary TB Caucus to lead the fight against the disease in The Gambia, by raising the profile of TB at the National Assembly and also pushing for greater resources to be invested in TB control and improve policies to tackle the disease.
Hon. Bah opined that the current rate of progress in combating TB is too slow, such that the disease will remain a threat to the social and economic wellbeing of millions of citizens around the World for centuries to come.
He noted that accelerating progress against the disease should be recognise by all Governments based on the interest of all.
Deputies after debate on the motion finally considered and adopted it.
by Lamin B. Darboe