Preparatory to the World Tuberculosis Day 2023 commemoration, National Tuberculosis Program and Partners, Tuberculosis Stakeholders, Civil Society Organisations, people affected by Tuberculosis and the Media converged in Abuja to strengthen commitments to the global fight against Tuberculosis.
The Pre-World TB Day Press Conference which was organised by the Stop TB Partnership and the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) aims to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic impact of Tuberculosis.
Speaking on the 2023 World TB Day slated for March 24 with the theme, “Yes! We Can End TB” with the Slogan in Nigeria as “Get Involved” , the Executive Director, KNCV TB Foundation Nigeria and Chairman 2023 World TB Day Planning Committee, Dr Berthrand Odume lamented the poor funding for TB program in Nigeria, just as he called for an increased advocacy saying ‘at a 69% funding gap, and over reliance on external donor agencies for funding, sustaining the TB program in Nigeria will continue to remain a challenge.’
He added: ” This, we can achieve through government, communities and stakeholders buy-in. We need more education on TB, more importantly the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.
“Working with the media, the program can make progress in educating the public on the impact of this deadly disease as well as current efforts by the governments, the key funders of TB program in Nigeria, the United States Agency for International Development, (USAID), Global Fund, GF) and other partners in addressing the scourge of the disease in Nigeria.”
On his part, the National Coordinator, National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) Federal Ministry of Health in Nigeria, Dr Chukwuma Anyaike explained that Tuberculosis remains a massive challenge globally, and Nigeria ranks high as one of the countries with the highest burden of the epidermic despite the strings of success recorded.
” We have done so well, at least, before it was 25% of Nigerians not knowing much about Tuberculosis and the burden in Nigeria but we still have a lot of problems.
“In the midst of the struggles, Nigeria has relatively done well if you look at when we started. By the end of 2022, we were able to notify above 285,000 missing cases in Nigeria and that is 60% of the missing cases, its a huge milestone but we have not gotten there,” he said
The Acting Board Chairman, Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, Dr Queen Ogbuji-Ladipo also while speaking at the Pre-World TB Day press conference said her Organisation would not relent in reaching out to critical Stakeholders all in a bid to stamp out TB in Nigeria.
“Our (Stop TB Partnership Nigeria) mandate is to continue to advocate for increased political commitment and domestic resource support for TB control in Nigeria.
“We will continue to engage with the Parliamentarians and other government agencies and private sectors to achieve this.”
Joyce Seember, a TB Survivor and Advocate believes that TB can be brought to its knees by sheer collaboration of all and sundry.
” Yes We can end TB by getting involved. Not just sitting and talking about TB and talking about funding.
“No matter the amount of funds we get, if we don’t go out there to do the advocacy, it’s nothing,” she admonished.
Partners in the shape of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) underlined their unwavering commitment to Nigeria as the nation looks to hit the ground running in the fight against Tuberculosis.