Home News Nigeria’s health minister calls for collaboration in fight against TB

Nigeria’s health minister calls for collaboration in fight against TB

by Muhammad Sani

By Asma’u Ahmad

The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, has called for collaboration among stakeholders on tuberculosis control, care and prevention in Nigeria.

Professor Adewole made the call at an event in Abuja with the theme, Find TB, Treat TB and Working Together to Eliminate TB’.

The minister said that Nigeria was ranked the fourth in global TB burden countries after India, Indonesia, and China as against third in the 2014 global TB Report among 22 high burden countries.

He said Nigeria was still the highest in Africa and pointed out that the burden of the disease in Nigeria was further worsened by the negative effects of interactions between TB and HIV.

Adewole said that there were solutions in the fight against the disease and that the solution was within reach because it was preventable, curable and could be freed in Nigeria.

He said: “TB is the most common life threatening disease and the number one killer among people living with HIV. However, the Federal Ministry of Health had provided leadership in strengthening collaboration and effective provision of TB and HIV service across the country as part of the efforts to address the disease.”

Adewole said that the National TB Strategic Plan focused more on case finding, prompt treatment and follow-up investigations to ensure that patients were cured.

He said that the effective implementation of the plan would enhance achievements of all targets for the control of TB.

“The Federal Government would continue to provide drugs for the management of drug resistant TB and associated logistics as well as capacity management at all levels,” he added.

The minister urged Nigerians to help in the elimination of TB by visiting their health care providers as cough for two or more weeks could be TB, adding that TB is curable and that diagnosis and drugs were available and free in all treatment centres nationwide.

Also speaking, Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Amina Shamaki, called on all stakeholders to double efforts in finding TB wherever it was, treating TB anywhere and whenever it was found.

Shamaki, who was represented by Dr Evelyn Ngige, Director of Public Health, at the ministry, said stakeholders must unite in efforts to ensure the end of TB.

She said that TB was an ancient disease which was airborne and could affect both young and old.

Dr. Shamaki said although of TB was free in Nigeria; it remained one of the many public health burdens in the world.

She said that one of the vital reasons for the continuous transmission of the disease was ignorance.

Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Human Virology Nigeria, Dr Patrick Dakum, said the institute is partnering the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme on the treatment of the disease.

Dakum said the collaboration between the institute and other stakeholders is aimed at providing treatment for patients at 16 Multi-Drug Resistant (DR-TB) treatment centres across the country.

He said that every year 1.5 million people died of TB and that there were nine million new cases of TB worldwide with Nigeria carrying almost 10 per cent of the burden.

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