By Blessing David
Experts with the National Tuberculosis Leprosy and Buruli-Ulcer Control Programme NTBLCP, in the federal ministry of health in partnership with Stop TB Partnership,has called on well meaning Nigerians as well as development partners to invest more in the fight to eliminate TB in Nigeria by establishing more TB facilities for testing and treatment of the disease
They made the call in Abuja at a pre world press conference as part of activities to commemorate the world TB Day for year 2022 which is usually celebrated on the 24th of March, it followed with a community outreach and a road walk by the partners to the high burden areas in Mabushi Community to sensitize the as well create more awareness about TB.
National Coordinator NTBLCP, Dr Chukuma Anyaike, while delivering his speech said in order to bridge the gap of funding, government at all levels must be able to make adequate funding for TB programmes available as well as implement policies that will drive home the message of public awareness with total support from relevant bodies to end TB in Nigeria.
Dr. Anyaike who said that most of the global funding came from the USID and other development partners ,informed of new cases of childhood tuberculosis which can be prevented from birth hence the organization has come up with a National programme in partnership with the primary health care development agencies for adequate BCG coverage that ensures that women can have their children given BCG immediately after birth but the challenge remains identifying women who have their children outside health facilities during delivery.
” BCG has been documented to protect these children from diseases and we are particular that women should have their children in the health facilities where they can be properly vaccinated against these diseases and women must get to the nearest health centres so that our children can be protected”, he emphasized.
He said that despite that Nigeria is recieving 73% of the global fund, it was still not enough because Nigeria is still a high burden country in Africa that is still dealing with other public health disease such as Hiv/Aids and Covid-19,, as such , Nigeria government must do more in terms of making this funds available by making huge budget for TB programmes available at all tiers .
Dr. Anyaike also hinted that poor awareness as well stigmatization and discrimination remains the major challenges of TB in Nigeria which has made Nigeria still have missing cases, therefore health workers must continue to show love as they have always done to victims of TB at every point of contact so they can be assured of total love and support in various health facilities.
He equally commended some state government who have integrated the National Health Insurance Scheme such that treatment and care for TB has been factored into the basic minimum package of care and people can access TB testing and treatment at the health facilities at no cost, hence it is an initiative that all relevant bodies needs to push.
While thanking the media for their continued reportage in information dissemination about TB, the national Coordinator stress on the need for the public to Know more about TB just as it remains number greatest public killer disease among people with HIV/Aids and must be eliminated from the society.
In her welcome address, Dr. Bolatito who is the Chairman 2022 World TB Day Planning Committee, said that this year’s theme for world tuberculosis day is” Invest to End TB, save lives ,do more. End TB now”, maintained that it has become necessary for the public to get enlightened more about what tuberculosis is all about and be able to see what the government is doing.
She said stakeholders should continue to give more by investing and supporting TB programmes in all areas of policy making so they can contribute their quota in the fight to end TB in Nigeria especially now that the government is also battling with management Covid-19 virus.
She Added that WTB Day is been observed to raise public awareness and understanding about one of the world’s deadliest infectious killers as well as sensitize the public to understand TB and it’s devastating health, social and economic impact on people around the world.
Executive Director, KNCV TB Foundation Nigeria, Dr. Bertrand Odume, also encouraged Nigerians to stop shying away from health facilities but make themselves available for testing and treatment so together they can support the war to end TB in Nigeria.