The United States Agency for International Development, (USAID), has said the Nigerian government, public, private organisation need to necessary mobilize domestic resources to fill the current 70 per cent funding gap in Tuberculosis through budgetary allocation and innovations in health insurance.
Rachel Goldstein, USAID/Nigeria HIV/AIDS Office Director, stated this while speaking at the Ministerial Press Briefing to commemorate the 2022 World TB Day in Abuja, and said due to USAID’s contribution, together with other key partners, Nigeria has witnessed a significant increase in case finding and treatment coverage in the past two years, in spite of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but there is need to more.
According to Goldstein, the Government of Nigeria’s efforts in increasing TB case detection from more than 100,000 in 2018 to more than 200,000 in 2021 has been enormous, however, much still remains to be done if Nigeria is to meet its TB control targets.
Commending the government, she further said, Nigeria has remained in the top 10 countries affected by TB, with one of the lowest detection rates globally and must continue to work together to reach all TB patients and their contacts in the country.
” It is necessary to mobilize domestic resources to fill this gap through budgetary allocation and innovations in health insurance. USAID is delighted to observe the increase in state funding allocations to address the TB epidemic in Lagos, Osun, Kano, Kaduna, and Plateau states. Similarly, we commend the inclusion of TB in state health insurance schemes in Lagos and Osun state.”
She restated the USAID’s continued technical support and interventions to reach every Nigerian with TB, curing those in need of treatment, and preventing the spread of new infections.
In a similar vain, representative of Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, Dr Queen Ugboja called on stakeholders, government and non governmental organisations to work together to Stop TB by 2030, while Dr Dele Olofin of the CDC averred that there must be a concerted efforts towards ending Tuberculosis.
For his part, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie E. Ehanire said the theme of the years’ world TB day celebration “Invest to END TB, Save Lives” and slogan “Give More, Do More, End TB Now!” is apt and fully aligns with our kick-out TB initiative. Key activities lined up for the week-long event includes amongst others the ministerial press briefing, community outreaches with the Well on Wheels truck and the first lady’s summit.
Ehanire reiterate the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is very committed to working assiduously with partners to continually mobilize the needed resources for TB eradication in Nigeria. “Achieving the SDG’s will be a pipe-dream if we do not make conscious efforts to create awareness, curb the menace of child TB and DR-TB in Nigeria”.
The Minister said, ” Let me use this opportunity to appreciate all our funding and technical partners; Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), United States Centres for Disease Control, (US CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and all other stakeholders for your continued support and resilience in seeing that TB is eradicated from Nigeria.
“To our Global TB champion/ambassador, national and state champions as well as advocates for TB control we say a big thank you for your efforts.
” I am also seizing this opportunity to sympathize with persons and families affected by TB. We shall continue to work relentlessly to mitigating TB in Nigeria and bring succor to the affected.
” I will also like to acknowledge our front-line health workers in all DOTS centers, microscopy centers, GeneXpert sites as well as DR-TB treatment centres across the country for the wonderful work they are doing.
” Distinguished Ladies and gentlemen of the press, I enjoin you to continue to support the sensitization process beyond the world TB day by spreading the following messages:
• TB is curable;
• Persistent cough for two weeks or more could be TB;
• Diagnosis and treatment of TB are available free of charge in all DOTS centres nation-wide;
• Our toll-free help-line for TB is 3340.”
He further reaffirm the federal government’s commitment to work in close collaboration with all stakeholders especially the press to make Nigeria free of TB.
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