Today, tuberculosis (TB) is responsible for the death of more young people than any other communicable disease. It is estimated that 2 children die of TB every minute. It is also estimated that among every 100,00 people living in Sub-Saharan Africa, 350 have TB.
The theme of this year’s World TB Day is “Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free world.” Today, this theme reminds us of Winne Gonah, a Kupenda-sponsored teacher who passed away from TB and HIV in 2009 after her pastor advised her to stop taking her medications as a sign of her faith in God.
In the 9 years since her death, Kupenda has worked tirelessly to implement education and advocacy programs for local leaders like Winnie’s pastor. Through these programs, we have equipped more than 5,000 local leaders (including pastors, traditional healers, government officials, NGO leaders, clinicians and teachers) with accurate medical knowledge, effective counseling capacity and powerful advocacy skills.
Today, we are excited to be part of a global community that is working hard to create compassionate, wise Leaders for a TB-free world. These leaders shape the health of our nations and the quality of life for nearly half a billion children living with disabilities in our world.
Thank you for all you do to help us equip these leaders so fewer people like Winnie lose their lives to TB.
And, thank you to Winnie, whose life and death revealed the urgency of this need and, in turn, propelled our advocacy work and saved thousands of lives.
Happy World TB Day.