Stakeholders in the health sector have decried the rate of funding gap bedeviling the treatment of Tuberculosis in the Country. The Experts said 8-10 million new cases of the ailment are diagnosed yearly.
The Board Chairman, Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, Prof. Lovett Lawson stated this at a media conference for the 2019 National TB Conference in Abuja.
He said over 8 million people in the world are infected with TB with about 95% cases in developing countries.
Prof. Lovett said 1.6million TB patients die each year which is compounded by the fast spread of HIV/AIDS and poor socio-economic status with each TB patient capable of infecting 10-15 persons yearly.
“With the promise of Governments of 193 countries way back in 2015 to end TB by 2030, unfortunately, the rate of TB decline which is currently at about 1.5% will need to increase to over 10% by 2025, if we are to end TB by the year 2030.
“Funding from the Federal Government of Nigeria and International donor for the control of this deadly disease, has been grossly inadequate.
The Country need 76% more funding for TB control compared to the current funding level, if we are to end TB in 2030. Other sources of funding are thus required if Nigeria is to meet this target”. He added.
Speaking further, Prof. Lovett said the media briefing seek to inform the public about the 2019 TB conference, which is aimed at bringing together key actors in TB control in Nigeria, and across the globe to deliberate on topical issues involving the control of the disease.
Similarly, he said the Stop TB Partnership Nigeria will also hold a Lagos TB Dinner Forum which is aimed at increasing the political commitment for TB, considering the fact that Lagos State has the highest burden for TB in Nigeria with challenges associated with high population, high congregate settings and Political will.
Furthermore the National Coordinator , Tuberculosis and Leprosy Program, Dr Adebola Lawanson, said there has been different strategic innovations which will aid in finding the missing TB cases in the country.
Dr Adebola who was represented by Dr Muhammad Ozi, the Deputy National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Program disclosed that interventions have been taken place in areas with high burden of TB, such as slums
“There has been several Contact tracing of Known TB index cases across the country. We have engaged with patent medicine vendors and community pharmacists in the active cases finding by referring presumptive TB cases to the DOTS centers.
As well as Procurement of more Gene Xpert machines by the Federal Ministry of Health and partners, and the optimization of existing ones to enhance diagnosis and case finding in Tuberculosis.”
She explained that the National Tuberculosis conference is an opportunity to bring together think tanks in the TB world globally in our door step here in Nigeria to rub minds together and exhibit laudable innovations and new technologies and discoveries in the World of Tuberculosis.
“It is a way to share ideas from researches that have been conducted through symposiums and presentations of research works that have been piloted and implemented and have been proven to be very effective. We strongly believe that this two days conference will make a lot of difference in the TB control Programme in Nigeria as we harness all the experience of participants in Nigeria, Africa and globally”
He said the country still need a large chunk of money in order to cure Tuberculosis.
The Chairman, Planning Committee of National TB Conference, 2019, Dr. Odume Bethrand noted there is a total funding gap of 76% which is approximately over USD$310m and government only provided 7% while external funding is 14% .
“Government alone cannot achieve this feat alone, it requires the financial contribution of well-meaning Nigerians, business tycoons, oil magnates and investors to contribute to the elimination of TB in Nigeria.