The Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) says the Global Funds has provided 29 million dollars grant to help fight against Tuberculosis (TB) in the country.
Dr Patrick Dakum, Chief Executive Officer, IHVN, who said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday, January 39, 2019, stressed that TB detection in the country remains extremely poor.
Dakum explained that Nigeria has the highest burden of TB in Africa and is the 6th highest globally.
“Every hour, it is estimated that 47 Nigerians develop active TB, of which seven of them are children and every hour, 18 Nigerians including women and children also die of TB.
“TB, a disease that is preventable and curable, has turned many children to orphans, taken many bread winners away with severe consequences on the economy of families and on the economy of the nation.’’
The IHVN Boss said that the $29 million covers supplies, resources needed for the private sector and incentives.
Dakum said that lack of establishment of private clinics for free TB services has made the disease to increase.
“At the TB Centre, it is supposed to be free; therefore, for every TB case they detect, we have to give money to cover part of the overhead because there are no free private clinics.
“This is just an incentive to find out more cases, so they confirm more suspected TB cases knowing that if they do, they will get paid for it.
“One of the unique things about the private sector is that of the incentive driven service.’’
Dakum said that the grant would contribute to providing quality care and services to Nigerians troubled with TB, thereby reducing mortality and morbidity associated with the disease.
“Case detection and coverage is extremely poor, poor in the sense that we are just at about 27 per cent of coverage for TB case detection.
“The expectation is that we should raise it in the next two years to a minimum of at least 50 per cent coverage.
“We are targeting to reduce TB cases in two years, so we need innovative measures, we are going to be supporting community pharmacies, private clinics and hospitals,’’ he said.
According to him, the idea is to now focus resources in the private sector in a way that would enable case detection to go up.
“When someone who has TB coughs into the air, that person infects the environment; somebody breathes in the air and gets TB.
“And when people fall sick, it is the community pharmacy or private hospital or community clinic they run to for treatment,
“However, our target is to equip them to be able to treat when they confirm any case, instead of referring and the disease keeps spreading,” he said.
“If we can reduce the cases such as we have in HIV, we will reduce new incidents of TB, and that is what we are hoping for,” Dakum added.
By Jessica Onyegbula