“More awareness needed to curb TB in Nigeria” – Partners

Ahead of the World Tuberculosis Day celebration, TB partners in Nigeria have said that more awareness needs to be created to curb TB in Nigeria.

They were speaking at a Pre-World TB Day Press Briefing in Abuja.

The Ag. Board Chairman of Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, Dr. Queen Ogbuji called for acceleration of efforts to end the global TB epidemic.

She said that TB remains one of the world’s deadliest infectious killers and each day, about 4,100 people lose their lives to TB and nearly 30,000 people fall ill with the preventable and curable disease.

“TB is the leading cause of death of people with HIV and a major contributor to antimicrobial resistance.

Global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 66 million lives since the year 2000.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic has reversed years of progress made in the fight to end TB. For the first time in over a decade, TB deaths increased in 2020.

This World TB Day is an opportunity to focus on the people affected by this disease and to call for accelerated action to end TB suffering and deaths, especially in the midst of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic”, Dr Ogbuji said.

Saving livesOgbuji also pointed out that more investment in TB will save more million lives, and accelerate the end of the TB epidemic.

She also called on the Stop TB Partnership and all partners and all those involved in the fight against TB to unite under the theme and sound the alarm that the low levels of funding for the TB response year after year cannot continue nor be accepted anymore.

“The theme for 2022 World TB Day is “Invest to End TB. Save Lives”.

And the slogan for Nigeria is “Give More, Do more, End TB Now!” The theme conveys the urgent need to invest resources to ramp up the fight against TB and achieve the commitments to end TB made by global leaders.

This is especially critical in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic that has put End TB progress at risk, and to ensure equitable access to prevention and care in line with the drive towards achieving Universal Health Coverage”, she added.

In his appeal, the Head of the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Emmanuel Anyaike, said that the Nigerian government’s priority focuses on identifying actual cases of TB and placing them on treatment.

He said that the government needs to invest more to find missing TB cases in the country.

“It cost more to treat! One case of TB can infect 15 to 20 people. We must improve from 25% funding for intervention”, Dr. Anyaike said.

He however noted that the government is scaling up engagement with the private sector towards curbing the TB burden.

A Board member of the Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, Dr. Bethrand Odume, said that more resources are needed to find more tbe cases.

He called for an accurate release of budgetary allocation to fight TB.

“The point to note is we have what we call a strategic plan. We know what we need to curb TB.

If you look at the gap in funding, it mirrors the gap on case finding”, Odume said.

One of the biggest funders of TB programme in Nigeria is the USAID and according to Dr. Temidayo Lagundoye, the agency would continue to support Nigeria.

She also appealed to the media, medical experts to continue to sensitize the public on TB adding that Nigerians also need to be their brother’s keeper.

On his part, Dr. Amos Omoniyi of the WHO said that the TB programme in Nigeria has made commendable and significant progress.

He encouraged more partners to support TB and save lives.

Nneka Ukachukwu
“More awareness needed to curb TB in Nigeria” – Partners

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