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Childhood TB- FG set to increase capacity of health workers

Bukola Afeni
The Federal Government said it will increase the capacity of healthcare workers in diagnosing Tuberculosis in childhood.
The Minister of Health Dr Ehanire Osagie disclosed this during the press briefing to mark World TB Day in Abuja.
According to him, the key challenge to control effort has been low notification of child TB cases mainly due to capacity gaps among healthcare workers in diagnosing TB in childhood.
“Although we notified our highest number of child TB cases of 12,977 in 2021, the child TB proportion amongst the overall TB notification for the same year was 6% – far lower than the WHO benchmark of 12%. This implies a high proportion of missing child TB cases in Nigeria.”
He noted that the country has been able to improve access to TB care in different dimensions.
“GeneXpert machines have increased from 32 in 2012 to 405 in 2021. The installation of an additional 102 is currently ongoing.
In terms of TB treatment (Directly Observed Treatment Short-course) centres increased from 3931 in 2010 to 17,699 in both public and private facilities currently. The process for the establishment of additional 5,000 TB treatment centres is also ongoing.
28 out of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) now have treatment centres for the management of drug-resistant TB.”
The Minister said over 1,000,000 Nigerians have been successfully treated for TB since 2011 till date.
“Our annual TB notification has steadily increased from 100,433 in 2016 to more than 207,000 TB cases in 2021. The highest-ever notification and a 45% increase from 2020 notification.”
Speaking at the event, USAID/Nigeria HIV/Aids Office Director, Rachel Goldstein
affirmed that her organization will continue to provide the technical support necessary and interventions to reach every Nigerian with TB, cure and those in need of treatment, and prevent the spread of new infections.
According to her, much remains to be done if Nigeria is to meet its TB control targets.
” Since 2003, Nigeria has remained in the top 10 countries affected by TB, with one of the lowest detection rates globally.  We must continue to work together to reach all TB patients and their contacts in the country.”
“It is necessary to mobilize domestic resources to fill this gap through budgetary allocation and innovations in health insurance.  USAID is delighted to observe the increase in state funding allocations to address the TB epidemic in Lagos, Osun, Kano, Kaduna, and Plateau states.”
World TB day is a global event commemorated on the 24th of March every year to raise public awareness on TB and efforts made to prevent and treat this disease. It is also a period for us to reflect on our progress towards the achievement of the 2018 United Nations High-Level Meeting and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets.

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