Home News Stakeholders call for funding, awareness to curb TB spread

Stakeholders call for funding, awareness to curb TB spread

by Haruna Gimba

By Asmau Ahmad

Stakeholders partnering to end the scourge of Tuberculosis in Nigeria say increased awareness is key.

They stated this in Abuja at a Pre-World TB Day Press Briefing, ahead of the March 24 World Tuberculosis Day celebration.

The World TB Day is observed each year to raise awareness about its devastating health, social and economic impact on people around the world.

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

Ogbuji said “TB remains one of the world’s deadliest infectious killers and each day about 4,100 people lose their lives and nearly 30,000 falls ill.

“TB is the leading cause of death of people with HIV and a major contributor to antimicrobial resistance. Global efforts to combat TB saved an estimated 66 million lives since the year 2000. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has reversed years of progress made in the fight.

“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 the sufferings and deaths, especially in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.’’

She pointed out that increased investment in TB would save millions of lives, and accelerate the end of the TB epidemic in Nigeria.

She called on the “Stop TB Partnership’’, partners and all those involved in the fight against TB in the country to unite under the 2022 World TB Day “Invest to End TB. Save Lives’’ and sound the alarm that low levels of funding for TB response year after year cannot be accepted anymore.

She said “the theme conveys the urgent need to invest resources to ramp up the fight against TB and achieve the commitment 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.’’

Dr Emmanuel Anyaike, the Head of the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme, Ministry of Health, said “Federal Government’s priority focuses on identifying actual cases of TB and placing them on treatment.

“Government needs to invest more to find missing TB cases across the country.

“It cost more to treat. One case of TB can infect 15 to 20 people. We must improve funding for intervention.’’

He, however, noted that government was scaling up engagement with the private sector toward curbing the TB burden.

Dr Bethrand Odume, a Board Member, Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, also stressed the need for more resources to find more cases in the country.

Odume called for accurate release of budgetary allocation to fight the scourge, saying “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.’’

On her part, Dr Temidayo Lagundoye, the Team Lead of USAID, one of the biggest funders of TB programme in Nigeria, said the agency would continue to support the country.

She appealed to the media and medical experts to continue to sensitise the public.

Dr Amos Omoniyi of the World Health Organisation (WHO), said the TB programme in Nigeria had made commendable and significant progress.

He encouraged more partners to support the TB fight to save more lives.  

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