Aminat Isah, Abuja
Nigeria’s First Lady, Mrs Aisha Buhari have called called on stakeholders to intensify collaborative effort a bid to stem the continuous rising tide of tuberculosis disease (TB) in Nigeria.
The First lady gave the call at the National Tuberculosis (TB) conference, themed ” Building Stronger Partnership To End TB in Nigeria” in Abuja on Wednesday.
She said ” Every year 600,000 affected by the disease, this is not an enviable position, i call for all stakeholders to work together build stronger partnership to end TB in Nigeria.
“Only through effective coordination that we can work together to end TB, you can always count on me I promise to engage the first ladies of the 36 states as to champions of their respective states. Since my ascension as global TB Ambassador,”
“As TB champion, I will always call for more resources from government at all levels to bridge the funding gap.
She further promise to engage the first ladies of the 36 state governors as TB champions in their respective states, saying that it has already started in Lagos as wife of Lagos State Governor was conferred as TB Champion in the state on July 14; I hope to do this for all the first ladies in the country.
The Executive Director, Stop TB Partnership Geneva, Dr. Lucica Ditiu in her opening remarks said concerted efforts is required from everyone to stop the snowball effect of TB in Nigeria and the world at large.
” TB is a huge problem, it is like a snowball effect because every single person if not diagnosed can infect up to 10-15 other persons per year. So everyone is suffering by multiplying and spreading the disease. Unless we contain it, it would keep growing and we would be faced without numbers,”
The Chairman, Stop TB Partnership in Nigeria, Prof. Lovett Lawson in his welcome address explained that the Stop TB Partnership TB Nigeria has since 2016 been in the forefront of championing multi-stakeholders engagement in TB control in Nigeria.
“Stop TB partnership in 2016 organised a conference that brought together over 2000 partners and participants in 2016.This years conference is to build on the success recovered on the maiden edition,”
He further said the national TB conference brings together three stakeholders in TB control in the academia to foster access to research, technology, and innovations in TB control.
” It provides avenue for the generation of new collaborations of homegrown research through collaborations, promote best practices in TB programming and design evidence based policies for improved TB control in Nigeria,”
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Abdullahi Mashi earlier in his opening remarks explained that although a lot has been put into the eradication of TB in Nigeria by the Buhari administration, it is still not enough.
Mashi, explained that TB is a major health challenge in Nigeria. “According to 2018 WHO TB report, Nigeria has the highest TB burden in , 418,000nigerians of all ages are estimated to have TB annually.
“41800nigerian children are estimated to have TB annually, the working age group of 15-44 years of Nigerians is mostly affected by TB. 71% of TB house hold in Nigeria are affected by the catastrophic cost of treating tuberculosis. Over 120,000 Nigerians die annually from tuberculosis,” He said.
Dr Ayodele Awe, WHO representative on his path stressed that there is a huge missing gap in Nigeria of TB cases.
He said with the current 300,000 TB cases in Nigeria, all that is required is to intensify awareness and texting efforts to stay the tide.
He urge that any person coughing two weeks more should get texted as it could be tuberculosis, in order to be on the right tract of fighting and eradicating TB.
“All the message we need to pass is that persistent cough of two weeks more could be tuberculosis death texted. We were told from previous survey that 75% of TB cases are in the community coughing and are unaware that they have TB,”