About 452,000 Nigerians develop Tuberculosis (TB) infection yearly while one person die every three minutes, the World Health Organization (WHO) has disclosed.
This puts the numbers of TB death incidence in 2020 at 156,000. An equivalent of 219 per 100,000 persons population, while COVID-19 incidence death for the last two years (2020-2021) is about 3200.
WHO Professional Officer on Tuberculosis (TB) in Nigeria, Dr Amos Omoniyi, disclosed this at webinar session theme: ” Journey to End TB by 2030. How far are we”, noting that the TB situation in Nigeria can be stopped with appropriate domestic committment similar to the one given to Covid-19.
According to Dr. Amos, “Although it is unlikely to achieve the the target of ending TB by 2030, it is still very visible for the numbers of TB cases in Nigeria to be reduced to 99 per cent by 2030. If domestic committment which is funding gap of 70% is closed.
“We are not on track to achieve 2030 target despite increase in test, but due to TB missing cases. There is still a lot of missing cases.
“Nigeria may not achieve 2030 target, but may start seeing decline in TB cases if the current tempo is sustained. We need to continue what we are doing. We need to implement some of our interventions. This is because as at 2021, 70% of TB case was not funded.”
He urged the media to intensify their efforts in disseminating correct informations on TB care and prevention as a way of increasing Nigerians’ knowledge. He also said correct information to communities is one of the means needed to end TB.
“Zero per cent death in TB is achievable in Nigeria,” said Amos.
Earlier in his presentation, the Deputy Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership in Geneva, Dr. Sahu Suvanand, said, although countries are off track globally in the target of ending TB by 2030, Covid-19 pandemic aided in the push back of the high level committment made in 2019.
Suvanand explained that the Covid pandemic was a wake up call and learning experience which should help in moving forward the efforts dissipated in ending TB by 2030 with the nature of the disease.
” It is possible to end TB by 2030
because it can be diagnosed, retested, treated and cured. So what we need is more tools.
” We have to diagnose all people living with TB. We have an estimated number of people who have TB, and number of those who have been diagnosed. And the diagnosis have to be early. It is only through early diagnosis that we can prevent further contraction by other people.”
Speaking on funding, Suvanand revealed that the total resources needed to end TB at global level is $250billion to end TB by 2030. The biggest chunk of $157billion will be required for TB pre care and prevention and also for the implementation of services. $40billion for researching new diagnostic drugs, while additional $52billion will be needed for vaccinating the people.
This is as Suvanand said the only available TB vaccine in Nigeria is BCG which is administered at birth and is already over a century years old.
To end TB therefore, what we need is fast tracking, political committment global planning. This is as what is needed for TB vaccine research and development is less than ten fold the amount that was spent on COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021.
He noted that if the high level committment is there in Nigeria, there is no reason why it cannot put an end to TB through her busget.
Dr Chukwuma Anyaike, the Director and National Coordinator, National Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Control Program at the Federal Ministry of Health said WHO’s post-2015 End TB strategy was adopted by the World Health Assembly in 2014 aimed to end the global TB epidemic as part of the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals.
He appealed to stakeholders not to allow the tempo to go down in case holding which have been optimized as the country hasn’t cone below 85%in case holding.
Anyaike noted that Nigeria is scaling up to get the private sector involved in ending TB.
Earlier in her welcome remarks, the acting Chair of the Stop TB Partnership, Nigeria, Dr. Queen Ogbuji Oladipo said the webinar is for stakeholders to discuss and promote awareness of TB issues in the media.
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