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World TB day 2017: Unite to end TB.

By Dr. Gidado Mustapha, Director of the USAID funded global Challenge TB project

“The journey to saving lives is tough, tortuous and challenging, yet very rewarding. Many lives of individuals and families have been saved from TB or its catastrophic impact. We are not there yet, and a lot still needs to be done to reach all the missing TB cases, but we are making appreciable progress.

The front line TB workers all over the world are our heroes, I remember working in an overcrowded clinic with TB and HIV patients all looking up to me with expectancy and hope; and weeks later strong, smiling and full of thanks. Despite the risk, difficulties and minimal remunerations, front line TB officers globally are making a difference- thanks to their effort.

There also individuals like you all, that are far but near in supporting the fight against TB; you are working behind the scenes, hidden, but effective and efficient as a car engine. You can be an individual donor like the American people, major agencies like USAID, KNCV, WHO; Scientist or technical staff, administrator or support staff. All of you though not in the front line of TB control are making a difference to the lives of people infected or affected by TB.

I know most of you only deal with work plans, budgets, reporting, reprograming, TA, for example. All these put together enable our colleagues in the field to provide direct care to TB patients; your efforts in resource mobilization, coordination, guidance, and support- these make a difference in saving lives of TB patients globally.

You should be proud, because you are all privileged that despite being far you are near to individuals, patients and families and your work is making a difference. Remember any hour you put in at work here matters to a lot of TB patients globally. Work hard and smart, because your work is highly valued and you are contributing to saving lives.

Let’s challenge ourselves from status quo; let’s be bold and innovative in providing technical support to all our countries to ensure we end TB in our lifetime.

You are far but near, and on a daily basis, your effort is contributing to saving lives.

To all our beloved TB patients be assured we feel your pains, and we pledge to continue to improve our approaches towards providing better care for you all; we are willing to continue to learn from you and civil society on how to reach the missing TB cases.”