On 22 March 2018, Ghana joined the rest of the world in commemorating 2018 World TB Day whose theme was “Wanted, Leaders for a TB-Free Ghana.‟ The national launch took place at Mantse Agbona, in James Town- Accra in the Greater Accra Region.

Present at the function were Madam Tina Mensah, Honourable Deputy Minister of Health, Madam Elizabeth Tawiah Sackey, Honourable Deputy Regional Minister, Dr Owen Kaluwa, World Health Organization Representative (WR), Dr Nsiah-Asare, Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Frank Bonsu Programme Manager, National TB Control Programme, Directors from Ghana Health Service and traditional leaders among others.

In her welcome address, Hon Elizabeth Sackey indicated that the theme for this year’s celebration was appropriate and timely. “This is a call for Government to take action to end TB” she said.

The Deputy Regional Minister reiterated the need for all stakeholders to rally behind Government and the TB Control Programme to reduce the current TB burden in Ghana.

In the keynote address, delivered on his behalf by the Honourable Deputy Minister of Health, Madam Tina Mensah, the Minister of Health Dr Kwaku-Agyeman Manu advocated for the establishment of a multi-sectoral response among other things for effective TB Control in Ghana. “Globally, political and financial commitment holds TB control back. The environment, food security, poverty and lack of social protection are outside the scope of the health sector but key to Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS control” he said. The Minister of Health assured that Ghana will not be left behind as the rest of the world had moved beyond rhetoric’s.

Delivering a brief statement, Dr Owen Kaluwa, World Health Organization (WHO) representative to Ghana, said that a TB-free world would only be achieved through leaders who championed efforts to end TB at local level. He mentioned that at the “First Ministerial Conference on Ending TB” in Moscow in November 2017, 75 ministers from the African Region committed to end TB and member states of the African Union finalized a Common African Position on TB (CAP-TB) on the sidelines of that historic conference.

“Leaders have tremendous influence to build strong partnerships and commitment to end the TB epidemic at every level. I therefore call on the government, parliamentarians and policy-makers to drive ambitious plans that will accelerate TB control at national level” Dr Kaluwa added.

This year’s celebration witnessed a commitment from the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) to collaborate with the TB Control Programme on the fight against TB. Speaking at the function, the GJA President in the person of Dr Affail Monney and urged all journalists to support the fight in order to ensure that the future generation witnesses the end of TB. He made a special appeal to journalists to sharpen their focus on stigmatization which is a real setback to TB control in Ghana.

For more information please visit WHO Africa website http://www.afro.who.int/