2022 World TB Day – Partners working to end Tuberculosis (TB) in Nigeria have appealed to all relevant stakeholders to invest more in addressing the gross TB underfunding situation of the country.
This appeal was raised at a press briefing organized by the KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation ahead of the 2022 World TB Day celebration, with the theme: “Invest to End TB. Save Lives”, and the slogan for Nigeria being “Give More, Do More, End TB Now!”
In the opening remark, Dr. Bolatito Aiyenigba, Chair, 2022 World TB Day Celebration Planning Committee, urged stakeholders to give more in terms of supporting people with signs and symptoms of TB, those who have already been diagnosed with TB as well as survivors trying to find their lives back.
Dr Aiyenigba acknowledged the role of the media and all health workers, including patent medicine vendors in referring clients for appropriate testing as an important contribution in the effort to curb TB in Nigeria.
Dr. Emmanuel Anyaike, National Coordinator, National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) at the Ministry of Health, in his remark at the World TB Day press briefing, said that the Nigerian government’s priority is on identifying actual cases of TB and placing them on treatment.
According to him, the government needs to invest more to find missing TB cases in the country, adding that it costs more to treat. He noted that in 2021, Nigeria recorded its highest TB notification cases of 207,785 from the previous 138,591 cases.
The National Coordinator added that an estimated 18 persons die of TB-related disease per hour in Nigeria.
A Board member of the Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, Dr. Bethrand Odume, said that more resources are needed to find more TB cases. He called for an accurate release of budgetary allocation to fight TB.
Dr. Odume who is Executive Director of KNCV TB Foundation stated that Nigeria has the highest TB burden in Africa, and is 6th globally among the 30 high TB burden countries. “The point to note is we have what we call a strategic plan. We know what we need to curb TB in Nigeria. If you look at the gap in funding, it mirrors the gap on case finding,” he said.
Ag. Board Chairman of Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, Dr. Queen Ogbuji, also called for the acceleration of efforts to end the global TB epidemic through proper funding. She pointed out that the low level of funding for TB responses cannot be accepted any longer.
“The theme reflects the urgent need to invest resources to ramp up the fight against TB and achieve the commitments 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, and to ensure equitable access to prevention and care in line with the drive towards achieving Universal Health Coverage,” she stated.
Dr. Temidayo Odusote who represented the USAID, the biggest funder of End TB programme in the world and particularly in Nigeria, assured of the agency’s continued support to Nigeria in its effort to curb TB.
Her appeal was directed at the media and medical experts to continue to create awareness among members of the public on TB, adding that Nigerians also need to be their brother’s keeper.
On his part, Dr. Amos Omoniyi of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that the TB programme in Nigeria has made commendable and significant progress. He encouraged more partners to support TB and save lives.
KNCV reports that Nigeria accounts for 70 per cent of the global gap between the estimated global incidence of multidrug-resistant TB each year and the number enrolled on treatment, which requires urgent interventions.