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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Nigeria still among the 30 high burden countries for TB – Experts

Urgent investment towards putting an end to preventable and curable diseases like Tuberculosis is very important to address the needles deaths and infirmities in Nigeria.

Tedros Ghebreyesus
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organisation (WHO)

As the country commemorates the 2022 World TB Day themed, “Invest to End TB. Save Lives”, the government needs to pay urgent attention to the response to TB disease which has not gone anywhere despite Nigerians’ distraction due to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We need to continuously sound the alarm on the unacceptable low levels of funding for the TB response annually in Nigeria,” says Akin Jimoh, the programme director of Development Communications Network (DevComs Network) and 2nd Vice Chairman, Lagos State Stop TB Partnership Nigeria.

According to Jimoh, of the $373 million needed for TB control in Nigeria in the year 2020, only 31% was available to all the implementers of TB control activities (7% domestic and 24% donor funds), with a 69% funding gap.

“TB is a huge burden in Nigeria which can be tackled with adequate investment, it can be prevented, diagnosed, treated and cured. The Nigerian government must step up and triple or quadruple TB funding to save lives and end TB by 2030,” he added.

DevComs identified that TB response has become an urgent priority because it is a major public health challenge that kills millions of people every year.

Global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 66 million lives since the year 2000. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has reversed years of progress made in the fight to end TB. For the first time in over a decade, TB deaths increased in 2020.

World TB Day has been described as an opportunity to focus on the people affected by the disease and to call for accelerated action to end TB suffering and deaths, especially in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

World TB Day is commemorated annually on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic impact of tuberculosis (TB) and urge acceleration of efforts to end the global TB epidemic.

The date marks the day in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacterium that causes TB, which opened the way towards diagnosing and curing this disease.

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