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Experts call for accelerated efforts to end TB

Bukola Afeni
 Experts in the health sector said there is a need to accelerate efforts to end TB suffering and deaths, especially amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
The Chairman of the Planning Committee for  2022 World TB day, Dr Bolatito Aiyenugba disclosed this at the Pre-World TB Day press conference in Abuja.
According to her, Tuberculosis remains one of the world’s deadliest infectious killers.
“Each day, about 4,100 people lose their lives to TB and nearly 30,000 people fall ill with this preventable and curable disease. TB is the leading cause of death of people with HIV and a major contributor to antimicrobial resistance.”
She called on media practitioners to create more awareness to the public regarding the issues of Tuberculosis.
“We want the media to highlight what the government and donors are doing in respect to detection of missing cases of Tuberculosis. There is a need for the media to amplify the voices of stakeholders to inform the public about the issue of Tuberculosis”.
The Acting Board Chair Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, Dr Queen Ogbuji said there is an urgent need to invest resources to ramp up the fight against TB and achieve the commitments to end TB made by global leaders.
” We want those involved in the fight against TB to unite under the overarching theme, and sound the alarm that the low levels of funding for the TB response year after year cannot continue, nor be accepted anymore.”
In the same vein, she added that the theme for 2022 World TB Day “Invest to End TB. Save Lives” is critical at this point.
 The slogan for Nigeria is “Give More, Do more, End TB Now!”
 “The theme is critical in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic which has put End  TB progress at risk and also to ensure equitable access to prevention and care in line with the drive towards achieving Universal Health Coverage. More investment in  TB will save millions more lives, and accelerate the end of the TB epidemic.”
The Executive Director of KNCV TB Foundation, Dr Odume Bethrand, said Nigeria still accounts for 4.6% of the global estimated TB cases, with the highest TB burden in Africa.
He noted that to end TB in Nigeria, there is a need to address the funding gap in the country.
Dr Bethrand disclosed that about 75% of TB patients in Nigeria and their households are facing catastrophic costs.

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