FG Committed Towards Tackling TB Burden
- Written by Oluwafemi Olowookere
The Hon. Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has reaffirmed Federal Government’s commitment towards reducing the cases of Tuberculosis and its burden in Nigeria.
The Minister who was represented by Director, General Services, Mr. Felix Ogenyi, made this statement during the 2019 World Tuberculosis Day Commemoration and launch of Document on the Road Map to translate the United Nations’ High-Level Meeting Commitments into Action, held in Abuja, recently.
Prof. Adewole noted that ‘’ we are among the 30 high TB burden countries and the 14th country in the world on all three World Health Organisation lists for TB, MDR –TB/HIV ‘’
He pointed out that ‘’Nigerians aged 15 – 44 years (the working age Group) is most affected by TB and TB death’’
He emphasised that ‘’ the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with its partners will not relent in their fight against the disease and reducing its burden’’.
He further said that the launched document outlined how Nigeria intended to achieve the “End TB” pledge, made by President Muhammadu Buhari at the United Nations High-level meeting in New York last year.
The Minister informed that the government had established a National Domestic Resource Mobilisation Committee to assist in mobilising more resources for TB Control.
He further said that the government had been expanding TB services under the Directly Observed Therapy (DOTS) centres across the country, adding that they were being extended to Private health facilities.
To this end, the Minister revealed ‘’We were able to increase the number of health facilities providing free treatment services by 30 per cent within one year from 7,389 in 2017 to 9,625 in 2018. Our target within the next few years is to scale up TB services to all health facilities within the package for Universal Health Coverage,”
He stressed that the government had also procured more Gene-Expert machines, increasing the number from 32 in 2012 to 397 in 2018. The machines were also donated to the private sector, he added.
He explained that ‘’Our National TB treatment coverage which is one of the indicators used in monitoring progress in UHC on the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) for 2018, was 25 per cent. This implies that out of the estimated 418,000 new TB cases, only 106,533 TB cases were notified in 2018, leaving over 300,000 cases undiagnosed”
In her welcome address, the Director, Public Health, FMOH, Dr. Evelyn Ngige, represented by Dr. Imabong Umoh, said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration with the support of health sector development Partners had made remarkable progress in scaling up TB diagnostic and treatment services across the country in line with the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) agenda of the Federal Government.
In his Goodwill massage, the President/CEO, Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH), Prof. Oladapo Ladipo, said that TB and its twin brother HIV, were major public health concerns, as such, the government should find alternative means of generating funds to tackle the menace.
TB is curable; Diagnosis and TB treatment are available, free of charge in all DOTS Centres nation –wide. Persistent cough for two or more weeks may be TB; Toll- free help for TB is08002255282.