The World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised the alarm over the rapid increase in tuberculosis cases in Borno State which it described as a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.
The world health body made the observation during its 13th Joint Operational Review in Yola Adamawa State.
Highlighting some of the objectives of the meeting, WHO said they included identifying ways to strengthen its operations and response in the ongoing protracted emergency and also to access changes and progress achieved through examination of new strategic and operational response plan 2023 developed from resolutions and recommendations during the 12th JOR.
The Joint Operational Review had in attendance Commissioners for health of Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe (BAY) states that are affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.
In an engagement with the media, the organisation’s Head of Mission/Country Representative, Walter Mulombo, listed the organisation’s concern during the North-East Nigeria 13th WHO End-Term Joint Operations Review (JOR).
He said tuberculosis was an infectious disease caused by a type of bacteria that often affects the lungs.
The country representative, however, assured WHO’s readiness to work with the Borno State government to address the problem.
He said: “The rate of tuberculosis infection in Borno is worrisome. It means that Borno could be a ticking time bomb for the tuberculosis explosion in Nigeria.
“We don’t want to allow that because of the humanitarian crisis; we need to work together because that thing itself is strictly an emergency.’’
He also highlighted some of the success es achieved by the organisation in various interventions which include provision of vaccination reaching children that have not been vaccinated either because they are living in areas that are difficult to reach or those in IDP camp.
Adding that communities are also helped in dictating and responding to new deseases outbreak, providing infrastructural rehabilitation and equipment where needed.
In his words: “We do not do this alone, WHO serves as the lead partners with NGOs, building capacity to help them mobilise resources to provide interventions and supply medicine”.
“We also take care of women who have been subject to gender base violence where we train staff and work force whose treat these women.”
Mulombo therefore, urged stakeholders to take action to accelerate help and to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal of leaving no one behind.
Earlier, Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno said that the state lost about 50 percent of its health institutions, and many staff were abducted or killed due to the insurgency.
Represented by the Borno State Commissioner for Health, Baba Malam-Gana, Zulum, he said: “One of the consequences of this is the issue of tuberculosis, which needs a lot of staff to work on it, including machines.
According to him, the state currently uses the help of the military to reach hard-to-reach areas to deliver services such as immunisation.
He urged the world health body to help in that regard, as well as in tackling Gender-Based Violence issues, among others.
Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa, represented by the Commissioner for Health, Felix Tangwame, thanked the organisation for its contributions to the state in many ways.
He further stressed that with the efforts of the governor in ensuring that every citizen gets access to health care services, the state is still in need of more support especially in the area of health care service delivery from WHO.