Experts in the health sector have projected that about 28.5 billion dollars is required to change the effect of Covid-19 pandemic on Tuberculosis, HIV, and Malaria in Nigeria .
An amount of money assumed would bridge the 60 per cent funding gap required for a TB free Nigeria without having to rely on foreign aides, especially with the current covid-19 pandemic, which makes it more difficult for TB findings and treatments.
The Country Director of Health Policy Plus(HP+), Frances Illika disclosed this at an online media roundtable, with the theme” Impact of COVID-19 on TB: Challenges and opportunities for service delivery, policy, and financing” in Abuja.
According to Illika, there must be a multi-sectoral political will power of stakeholders, at all levels if Nigeria must break free from TB donor funding, as the root solution to reducing TB burden in Nigeria is non other than through domestic resources mobilization.
“We need to move away from being dependent on donor funding for TB, to actually improve our budget allocation for TB.
“We need input at the national, state, executives, and parliamentarians level, in order to make sure that we provide adequate funding for TB, and make sure that these funds are released both at the national and state levels.
“We need commitment across all levels of people, those who work in and outside the health sector.
“There is a need for us to remember that we have other deadly diseases that are threatening us and can be further enabled by COVID. We need to put in place measures to fund and control diseases of public health significance, like HIV, Malaria, and Tuberculosis (TB), there could be a post-COVID-19 health crisis in Nigeria.”
The National Coordinator, National Tuberculosis, and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP), Dr. Adebola Lawanson, advocated for increased awareness and texting for TB.
Lawanson said, there has been an increase in multidrug-resistant tuberculosis due to the impact of COVID-19 on affected health facilities, monitoring and drug supervision for TB patients, with health care workers unwillingness to carry out TB case findings.
She further said, community contact tracing approach which is being used in combating COVID-19, can be effectively adopted in tracing TB patients.
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