The Federal Government has been called upon to prioritise funding of research and also provide adequate support for tuberculosis patients, especially women and children that are most vulnerable.
Making the call in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, at her Graduation Reception and Unveiling of the Foundation for Advocacy and Sensitisation on Tuberculosis (FAST), Dr. (Mrs) Mistura Lawal-Arowona, said her new Foundation would undertake the payment of the medical surgery bill of a 13-year-old patient, Nwafor Emmanuel, on admission at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, who has been clinically diagnosed of Nasopharyngeal Tumor, a likely cancer illness.
True to her word, Dr. (Mrs) Lawal-Arowona, who has just bagged her PhD in Chemistry at the 37th and 38th Convocation ceremonies of the University of Ilorin, on behalf of her Foundation, made a public presentation of the cheque and letter of commitment to the beneficiary (patient, urging corporate bodies and public-spirited individuals to come to the aid of the citizenry in meeting their health challenges, particularly the downtrodden.
Dr. (Mrs) Lawal-Arowona, who is a Lecturer at the Department of Pure
and Applied Chemistry, Kebbi State University of Science and Technology, Aliero, opined that: “The attainment of Doctoral Degree qualification (PhD) is one of the highest honour that can happen to anyone, especially the girl-child, considering the global trends of how women are been subjected to different social vices, such as; undue hardship, domestic violence, child trafficking, prostitution and discrimination to mention but a few.”
In his address, the Director of Mobilisation to the Foundation for Advocacy and Sensitization on Tuberculosis, Mr. Teddy Ozuem, said: “Today marks the genesis of our collective mission: to sculpt a world where tuberculosis is a distant echo, a world transformed by our resolute commitment to obliterate this affliction and enhance the lives of those ensnared by its grasp.
“Our journey is one steeped in compassion, knowledge, and action. The heartbeat of our endeavour resonates in our tagline, building bridges to Communities. We comprehend that our battle against tuberculosis extends beyond medical remedies; it necessitates weaving bridges of awareness, comprehension, and support within our communities. FAST embodies not just an organisation, but a fervent movement, propelled by the collective zeal to effect substantial change. Within FAST, our initiatives are fortified in advocacy, awareness, community sensitisation, supportive services, and groundbreaking research.”
The Director advocated policies prioritising tuberculosis research, prevention, and treatment, adding that through laser-focused awareness campaigns, workshops, and seminars, myths would be shattered, while communities would also be empowered with knowledge.
According to him, the Foundation would provide supportive services, including counseling and financial aid, to enrich the lives of those ensnared by tuberculosis, adding that, in collaboration with esteemed medical institutions and brilliant researchers like Dr. (Mrs) Mistura Lawal-Arowona, they would seek more effective treatments and prevention strategies for the deadly scourge.
He added: “Rest assured, our initiatives will spearhead our endeavours. We will harness technology’s might to spread knowledge, weave networks among communities, and catalyse innovation in the fight against tuberculosis,” urging all and sundry to join hands with them in this noble endeavour.
In his keynote address, Princess Joan Jummai Iidonije, said education, particularly the education of the girl child, is a cornerstone of progress and development, adding that it is not just an investment in an individual, but an investment in the future of Nigeria.
She said: “This is smart economics and should be encouraged by all. As we honour Dr. Lawal-Arowona, let her journey serve as an inspiration to us all, highlighting the incredible potential that is unlocked when girls are given access to quality education. Having followed here through her journey of educational pursuits, I must say that her life has inspired many young girls in Kaduna and Kebbi to attain education.
“Today, Dr. (Mrs) Mistura Lawal-Arowona has become a world class researcher of repute. While in India she discovered the breakthrough of Antituberculosis drug metal complexes with the compounds showing a higher efficacy than the active pharmaceutical ingredients, ushering in a new way of addressing cure for tuberculosis.”
The Princess noted that the impact of educating girls extends far beyond the individual, saying it ripples through society, contributing to economic growth, improved health outcomes, and increased civic engagement.
When girls are educated, she added, they are better equipped to break the cycle of poverty, leading to stronger and more resilient communities, as well project the positive image of the Nation, adding that they have beautiful examples of the likes of Mrs. Amina Mohammed, first Woman globally to hold the position of Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, first woman to head the World Trade Organization, Fatima Kyari Mohammed, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations, Dr. Hajo Sani, Permanent Delegate of Nigeria to UNESCO, among so many women holding positions of authority, as Vice Chancellors, Ministers, Pilots, etc.
Lauding Dr. (Mrs) Lawal-Arowona for the foresight in establishing the Foundation, the Keynote Speaker said tuberculosis is a critical public health issue, and also a global concern that must be tackled head on, adding that “our commitment to the Foundation for Advocacy and Sensitisation on Tuberculosis (FAST), underscores our dedication to raising awareness, eradicating stigma, and improving access to healthcare.
“We must remember that education and health are interconnected aspects of development. A well-educated population is more likely to engage in preventative health measures, including the fight against diseases like tuberculosis. By focusing on both education and health, we set the stage for a brighter and healthier future for all.”