Preparatory to the 2022 World Tuberculosis Day Celebration, TB partners in Nigeria have highlighted the need to step up the funding for the Tuberculosis response in the country.
This is just as the Federal Government has assured of scaling up engagements with the private sector towards curbing the TB burden.
Tuberculosis is number one killer disease in the world and among the top ten causes of death worldwide.
In Nigeria, the incidence cases are disturbingly high as the country is ranked 6th among the 30 high TB burden countries globally and 1st in Africa.
An estimated 18 people die of TB related diseases, that is 432 every day and over 156,000 every year.
As worrying as these statistics are and the grim danger it portends for the country, TB partners at the 2022 Pre-World TB Day in Abuja are calling for improved awareness to curb the scourge in Nigeria.
The Acting Board Chairman, Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, Queen Ogbuji called for more investment to save million more lives, and accelerate the end of the TB epidemic.
““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.
On his part, the Head of the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme in the Ministry of Health, Emmanuel Anyaike decried the appalling rate of TB awareness, just as he solicited for the expansion of diagnostic platforms across the country.
“It is rather a serious concern that with the devastating effect of Tuberculosis in Nigeria, the country cannot boast of adequate diagnostic platforms.
“It’s advisable that Federal Government considers the expansion of such platforms such that each of the 774 LGAs across the country should have at least one.
“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.
Development partners in the likes of the United States Agency for International Development, the biggest funders of TB programme in Nigeria pledged their continued support to Nigeria.
She further emphasized the importance of awareness creation on TB, calling on the Media and other Stakeholders not to relent on the sensitization of the public on TB.
In the same vein, Berthrand Odume of the KNCV TB Foundation Nigeria called for improvement on case findings towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.
“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 explained.
Stigmatization remains one of the challenges to the eradication of TB in Nigeria, but according to Amos Jatau, a TB Survivor and Advocate, early detection and treatment are pivotal in the fight against TB.
While TB programme in Nigeria has made some commendable and significant progress, The theme for 2022 World TB Day,“Invest to End TB. Save Lives”. And the slogan for Nigeria, “Give More, Do more, End TB Now!” 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.