#MVENDTB: The National TB Strategic Plan launched by HE President of the Maldives
His Excellency President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom launched the National Tuberculosis Strategic Plan in the Maldives today, the first Head of State in WHO South East Asia Region to launch the TB Strategic Plan since the Delhi call for action to End TB. A historic occasion with Highest level political commitment towards ending TB in the Maldives as witnessed with the presence of HE President and all Cabinet Ministers and key stakeholders. The event was a joint collaboration between Ministry of Health and WHO Maldives.
The highest attainable level of political commitment was demonstrated towards ending TB in the Maldives with the le presence of HE President and all Cabinet members including Minister of Finance, Minister of Environment, Minister of Gender and Family, Ministry of Economic Development, Minister of Tourism, Minister of Defense and National Security, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Health were amongst the noteworthy. In addition, Heads of the Public and Private Sector corporations and organizations, Professional Associations, Members of TB Technical Team, NGOS and UN Agencies also showed their interest to end TB with their attendance.
“It’s my great honour and pleasure to witness this momentous occasion and on behalf of Regional Director Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh and on my own- take the opportunity to congratulate HE President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom for being the first Head of States in the South East Asia Region to launch a National Strategic Plan for Eliminating Tuberculosis since the “Delhi Call for Action” was signed by Health Ministers in March 2017” said Dr Arvind Mathur, WHO Representative in his opening remarks, “Maldives has over the years maintained high rates for TB case detection and treatment. Fortunately the numbers of new cases is not very large but still 150-200 new cases are diagnosed every year with rather small number of drug resistant tuberculosis. We build on these strengths and also introduce newer activities such as actively finding the TB cases, enhancing laboratory services and ensuring screening of migrant and high risk population. At the same time we need to remain cognizant of emerging gaps as the TB program noted some slippages including under reporting, under diagnosis especially of childhood TB and lower treatment compliance.”
As the highlight of the event; His Excellency President Mr Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom e-launched the National TB Strategic Plan, a foundation which lays out the efficient interventions and guidelines to reduce incidence rate of TB in the Maldives by 50% and TB deaths by 75% by 2022, in comparison to 2017. With technical support from WHO, the Strategic Plan was developed with the ambition to End TB, a high priority for the country.
Honourable Minister of Health Abdulla Nazim Ibrahim thanked WHO for the steadfast and solid technical support throughout the years, and especially towards the TB Programme. He also reiterated the continued commitment by the Government of Maldives to end TB as a public Health problem by the year 2022
Tuberculosis is the top infectious disease killer in the world, in 2016 alone, 10.4 million were diagnosed with TB and 1.7 died from the disease. In the same year, a total of 169 cases of TB were also notified in the Maldives. WHO stands committed to the Government of Maldives to provide support and effective interventions such as strengthening the current system, accelerating case detection, mass prevention measures and advocating for call for action.