Tuberculosis: Lagos to include TB in health insurance

The Lagos state government says it has included treatment of tuberculosis into the state’s health insurance scheme.
READ ALSO: Tuberculosis: Nigeria treats over 1m in 11 years

The state governor, Mr. Babajide Sonwolu, disclosed the development during a webinar organised by Stop TB Partnership Nigeria in collaboration with the National TB and Leprosy Control Program, Economic Summit Group (NESG), and Anadach Consulting Limited.

He said that the State government was determined to change the narrative of high TB prevalence in Lagos and its enviable position as the State with the highest TB burden.

“Of the $373 million needed for TB control in Nigeria in the year 2020, only 31 per cent was available to all the implementers of TB control activities in Nigeria “seven per cent domestic and 24 per cent donor funds”, with 69 per cent funding gap,” he stressed.

He called on all stakeholders in the TB space and most importantly the private sector to key into the work the Stop TB Partnership Nigeria was doing to increase local resource mobilization and see a Nigeria Free of TB.

Mr. Sonwolu also encouraged all hands to be on deck to fight TB just as it was done for COVID-19, HIV and Malaria.

He appreciated stakeholders in the fight against TB, saying that TB was becoming more prevalent and that its control must be a global agenda in which everyone must show commitment and be part of the fight to bring the disease to an end.

Also speaking, the Director and National Coordinator, NTBLCP, Dr. Chukwuma Anyaike said that Nigeria contributed a very significant improvement in case finding during the era of COVID-19.

“Despite the commitment made by heads of state and government during the UNHLM on TB in 2018, its obvious that realities after the meeting have and continue to pose a threat to the achievement of the set targets.

These includes the recurrent lack of adequate resources and funding to sustain the TB response coupled but gaps in finding the missing TB patients as well as stigma and discrimination among others,” he explained
He stressed that TB patients deserved Love instead of Stigma.

“We really need a place where a TB patient is treated kindly as a human, not as a useless object,” he stressed.
Dr Anyaike said those steps were in collaboration with the material, adolescent and new born child programmes, visiting of the child welfare and growth monitoring clinics across the country.

He noted that the stool of any malnourished child in the country was subjected to the Genexpert tests, adding that this had yielded good results and the programme and partners were planning to scale up nationally.

The Stop TB Partnership a hosted entity of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), says it will ensure there are manufacturers producing test for latent Tuberculosis (TB), tools and making them available.
On her part, the Executive Director,Stop TB Partnership, Dr Lucica Ditiu, said that the new test for latent TB would become available in a few months.

She noted that the World Health Organization(WHO), has issued guidance on that.
She stressed that TB was a big health threat and TB was killing more people than COVID-19 pandemic.
The Executive Director said that the issue about TB was underplayed in Nigeria and proper awareness creation was needed to get this peace killer out of the country.

Dr. Ditiu noted that the populace understand the various kinds of TB especially the “drug-resistance-TB.
She said that Lagos state has the power, energy and mindset to be regarded as a country of its own because it has a very participative state governor.

Facilitator Health Policy Commission, Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Dr Nkata Chuku in his presentation highlighted the need for the private sector you contribute to stopping TB in Nigeria.

The webinar was organised by Stop TB Partnership Nigeria in collaboration with the National TB and Leprosy Control Program, Economic Summit Group (NESG), and Anadach Consulting Limited.

It had various speakers making presentations on how to stop TB in Nigeria which is said to have the highest Tuberculosis (TB) burden in Africa, and is one of the eight highest TB-burden countries in the world that account for two-thirds of new TB cases globally.

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