• Sunday, May 19, 2024
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Nigeria needs $167m for TB control – Experts

Nigeria currently needs an additional $167 million to tackle the burden of Tuberculosis (TB), the lead infectious killer in the world and meet the target of ending the epidemic by 2030, experts say.

Mayowa Joel, secretary general of the Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, speaking at a press conference ahead of the 2020 World TB day explained that the country actually requires a total of $278 million for TB control, but currently has about 40 percent of the requirement (32 percent from donor agencies and eight percent domestic).

Joel, said this while noting that Nigeria still ranks 6th among the 30 high TB, TB/HIV, and MDR-TB burden countries and 1st in Africa.

He explained that Nigeria accounts for 12 percent of the global gap between TB incidences and notified cases.

He disclosed the major challenge of TB response in Nigeria is attributed to low case findings both in adults and children.5 7,000 children get TB annually.

He regrets that of the 439,000 estimated new TB cases in Nigeria; only 102,266 were notified to the NTBLCP with 28 percent treatment coverage.

He also added that of the 80,000 eligible to receive treatment, only 10,523 received the preventive treatment.

“This is as a result of low TB treatment coverage and poor knowledge about TB that influence the health seeking behaviour of people,” he said.

He further informed that one-quarter of the world’s population, approximately 1.9 billion people is infected with TB and of the 10 million people that develop TB each year; 3 million miss out in care and treatment.

Bethrand Odume, a representative from the KNCV foundation, speaking said despite significant progress over the last decades, TB remains the world’s deadliest infectious killer. According to him, 4,500 people lose their lives to TB every day and close to 30,000 people fall ill from preventable and curable diseases.

Odume disclosed that global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 58 million lives since the year 2000 and reduced the TB mortality rate by 42 percent.

He, however, expressed concerns over the emergence of Drug-Resistant TB which according to him poses a major health threat and could put at risk the gains made in efforts to end TB. Every year 500,000 people develop DR-TB and only 1 in 3 is able to receive treatment.

Odume, therefore, stressed that ending TB will require acceleration of efforts in Nigeria and globally. He said the World TB Day 2020 which has the theme “It’s Time to End TB in Nigeria”, puts the accent on the urgency to act on the commitment made by global leaders at the UN high-level meeting in September 2018 of which President Muhammadu Buhari was part of it.

He recalled that countries including Nigeria pledged to scale up access to prevention and treatment, build accountability, end discrimination and ensure equitable and sustainable financing including for research.

Ayodele Awe,  representative of WHO,  harped on the need for individuals to carry out regular testing to know their status and to go for treatment when a cough exceeds two weeks.

Awe also called in the need for more awareness and advocacy for TB.

TB is an infectious disease caused by germs that are released into the air by a TB patient when he coughs, sneezes or talks. The symptoms include; continuous cough lasting for two weeks or more, fever lasting for two weeks or more and sweating at night even in cold weather.

Others are; weight loss, difficulty in breathing, cheat pins and blood-stained sputum.