In a press conference held on Friday 11th August 2023 at 26 Jone Street in Freetown, the Director of the Civil Society Movement Against Tuberculosis Sierra Leone (CISMAT-SL), Rev. Paul Bangura has disclosed that out of 17,000 diagnose and put for treatment every year 5,000 are missing for treatment yearly.

Rev. Paul Bangura started by stating that the purpose of the Press Conference is to affirm CISMAT-SL advancing the rights and health of TB Patients and supporting Government initiatives through the National TB and Leprosy Control Programme.

He stated that in their collective fight against Tuberculosis (TB), the strength, tenacity, and dedication demonstrated by the Civil Society Movement Against Tuberculosis Sierra Leone (CISMAT-SL) and its entire membership have been nothing short of commendable.

“We wish to emphatically affirm and celebrate the critical contributions of CISMAT-SL in championing the rights of TB patients and robustly supporting government-led initiatives through the National TB Control Programme”, he said, adding that CISMAT-SL and its general under-mentioned membership across Sierra Leone wish to affirm its collective efforts in the fight against tuberculosis in five key areas whereas, TB a formidable health adversary, demands a comprehensive, multi-pronged response.

He disclosed that CISMAT-SL has enriched this response in manifold ways, including rights advocacy that, CSOS and TB survivors have been key in championing the rights of TB patients, emphasizing their rights to accessible, affordable, and quality healthcare TB services.

He said CISMAT-SL efforts ensure that the dignity of every TB patient remains inviolable, regardless of their social or economic background. Rev. Paul Bangura continued that awareness and Education through grassroots campaigns, workshops; and community dialogues, CISMAT- SL have been indispensable in building an informed society that understands TB, its implications, and the chance of early detection and treatment.

He stressed supporting Government Initiatives in recognizing the importance of unified action. “CISMAT-SL has extended unwavering support to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation under NLTCP”.

He stated that whether it’s by offering feedback on policies, mobilizing resources, or aiding in effective implementation on the ground, their collaborative spirit has been crucial.

Speaking on how they are building bridges, he said, CISMAT-SL has facilitated essential dialogues between TB patients, CSOS, healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the public. “These dialogues have fostered mutual understanding and cooperation, vital for any public health TB response,” he said.

According to Director Bangura, in terms of community support, beyond the realm of policy and advocacy, CISMAT-SL has been the bedrock of emotional, logistical, and financial support for numerous TB-affected individuals and families.

He pointed out that through its membership including TB support groups; grassroots presence ensures that the challenges faced by TB patients are promptly addressed.

He maintained that CISMAT-SL is comprised of 18 independent national civil society organizations and 240 TB support group present across the 16 districts of Sierra Leone and CISMAT works directly with these structures to reach TB patients. The organization is also leveraging its expertise, the 18 Civil Society Organizations work on diverse areas ranging from human rights, gender, and developmental-related issues targeting a vulnerable population.

He revealed that in as much as we affirmed CISMAT unweaving support in the fight to end TB, ‘we want to acknowledge the National TB program and its’ technical partners including the Country Coordinating Mechanism of the Global fund (CCM) for providing guardian and the enabling environment to operate’ he stated.

He further informed journalists that the Global Fund is the source of their support through the Ministry of Health (MOH) and CRS to enhance their interventions, “we acknowledge this and pledge our commitment to support the fight to end TB in Sierra Leone. We recognize and salute the tireless endeavors of our membership including TB Support groups”, he said.

He went further that their commitment to upholding the rights of TB patients and bolstering government initiatives has been instrumental in their journey toward a TB-free world.

“As we move forward, it’s essential that the efforts of CSOs and TB survivors among our membership are continually recognized, supported, and amplified. They embody the spirit of community, collaboration, and care – essential values in our shared pursuit of – eradicating TB in Sierra Leone and beyond” he concluded.