Nigeria accounts for 23% of TB deaths in Africa - NTBLCP - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Nigeria accounts for 23% of TB deaths in Africa - NTBLCP

The National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme, NTBLCP, has disclosed that Nigeria accounts for 23 percent of deaths arising from tuberculosis in Africa.

This was as it revealed that undetected TB carriers in the country were capable of infecting between 12 percent and 15 percent of the nation's population annually.

The National Coordinator of NTBLCP,Dr Laraban Shehu, at the 2024 pre-world TB Day press conference in Abuja, revealed that one person dies of tuberculosis disease in every five minutes in the country.

Recall that the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme, NTBLCP, was established in 1989 by government of Nigeria to coordinate TB and leprosy control efforts in the country.

While advising persons experiencing cough for more than a week to approach hospitals to check the nature of the cough, Dr Shehu regretted that Nigeria still has a hugh funding gap for TB.

Shehu,who regretted that Nigeria still has a huge funding gap as 17 percent of its TB budget was not funded, disclosed that the country requires $300 million to bridge the gap 

He said: "Nigeria alone accounts for 23 percent of TB deaths is in Africa and undetected persons can infect about 12 percent to 15 percent which means if we Nigerians are able to control TB, the African nation as a whole will be able to control TB and that is why we need to do more on behalf of the African nation.

"The meaning of this is that in Nigeria,every five minutes,one person dies of TB. So this is the disease killing people more than the number of people that died of COVID. And the regrettable thing is that this is a disease that is curable and can be prevented.

"In Nigeria,over 70 percent of people with this disease have spent what they have just to treat TB. This is happening because people are not aware that the drugs are there free. They don't go to the right place to access drugs.

"We have adequate resources but no adequate political commitment. There is a huge funding gap for TB in Nigeria.Over 17 percent of TB budget is not funded. That means we are not able to take these services to every nook and cranny of Nigeria."

The Chairman,2024 World Tuberculosis Day, Dr Bolatito Aiyenigba, called for support from the 774 local government areas across the country in eradicating tuberculosis.

"We want everyone across the 774 local government areas in Nigeria to be aware of tuberculosis. They should know what to do to check TB . They should also support everyone around them that is on treatment to be able to get the care and the support they need,"she said.

While informing that the committee had gone to schools to educate students and teachers about tuberculosis, she assured that it would extend the same exercise to Kuje Prison to screen inmates on the disease and apply free HIV screening.

The Executive Director, KNCV Nigeria,Dr. Bethrand Odume, while also speaking, explained that this this year’s theme of World TB Day 2024, "Yes! We Can End TB-"No gree for TB, Check am o!",conveys the urgent need to come together and ramp up the fight against TB, to achieve commitments to end TB by 2030. 

He said:"This is a continuation of last year's World TB Day theme which brings attention to tuberculosis and our collective power to achieve the 2023 UN High-Level Meeting on TB Political Dectaration targets, which will put the world on course to end TB by 2030. It brings hope and builds on the amazing work done in 2023 by many TB High Burden Countries and TB Champions around the world who continue to make incredible strides to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing access to TB treatment and prevention. 

"The theme also centers on the increased engagement of those affected by TB, communities and civil society who are leading the movement towards ending this disease, and the progress made in research and development — many new TB diagnosis tools, shorter, more efficient treatment and preventive regimens as well as several vaccines in phase 3 clinical trials."

Speaking further,he explained that,"KNCYV Nigeria is a globally recognized center of excellence in TB control and is at the forefront of the fight against TB in Nigeria."

" We are aligning with NTBLCP's national strategic plan 2020 to 2025 by adopting a mixed model of community and facility-based health systems strengthening strategies and digital solutions to find TB cases. The current USAID-funded TB LON 1&2 project contributes to strategic plans to end TB by 2030 through its key objectives, which include improving access to high-quality person-centered TB, DR-TB, and TB/HIV services; strengthening TB service delivery platforms; reducing TB transmission and disease progression and applying innovation and accelerating research in TB with improved impact on program implementation. 

"We are working with the NTBLPC and state TB program in the 14 supported states to improve TB case detection in Nigeria under the USAID-supported TB LON project. 

"The time to accelerate all efforts towards ending TB is now more than ever before. We all need ta Sustain the progress we have made in recent years in finding the missing TB cases, by scaling up key proven strategies while sustaining advocacy efforts to improve funding from the government and the private sector,"he added.

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