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Sunday, April 14, 2024

WHO and other organizations are calling for more funding to eradicate tuberculosis in Nigeria.

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Ahead of the 2024 World Tuberculosis Day, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other health experts have called on governments to increase funding for Tuberculosis (TB) to achieve Nigeria’s goal of eradicating the disease by 2030.

The health experts, who spoke in Abuja on Tuesday at a media briefing to herald this year’s edition of World TB Day, said low awareness levels of the disease have posed a significant threat to efforts aimed at addressing the deadly disease.


Speaking at the event, the National Programme Officer for TB, WHO, Amos Omoniyi, said the disease remains a killer disease globally, with millions of cases and deaths recorded annually

Mr Omoniyi said Nigeria carries the sixth highest burden of the disease with 97,000 death cases, amounting to 23 per cent of 2.4 million deaths in the African region.

Also, the disease has continued to claim more lives and affect more individuals, despite being a curable disease.


Funding gaps

Mr Omoniyi further noted that despite Nigeria accounting for the high burden of the disease, it still has a 70 per cent funding gap in TB.

He added that the high funding gap, the high level of donor dependency and infrastructure hinder access to essential TB services, including diagnosis and treatment.

“There have been persistent challenges in fighting this disease, and it includes insufficient funding, which is the 70 per cent funding gap, resources, low treatment coverage, and limited access to diagnostic tools,” he said.

“Therefore, we are calling on the governments, civil society organisations, and international partners to increase their support and to address these barriers and enhance TB control efforts.”


He added that investing in TB eradication is not only crucial for saving lives but also for improving economic development, while also urging everyone to become advocates for TB awareness and to mobilise resources to combat this silent killer effectively.

He further highlighted the importance of raising awareness about TB symptoms and treatment options, emphasising the role of communities and individuals in advocating improved healthcare services.

TB awareness

World TB Day is marked on 24 March every year to create awareness about the impact of the disease. The theme of the 2024 WTBD is “Yes, We can End TB”.

In his remarks, the Executive Director of KNCV, TB Foundation Nigeria, Bethrand Odume, said the theme emphasises the critical need for unity and a stepped-up effort to combat tuberculosis to fulfil pledges to eradicate the illness by 2030.

“The theme brings hope and builds on the amazing work done in 2023 by many TB High Burden Countries and TB Champions around the world who continue to make incredible strides to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing access to TB treatment and prevention,” he said.

He noted that the theme centres on the heightened participation of TB patients, communities, and civil society leaders who are spearheading the effort to eradicate this illness.

He added that it also identifies progress made in research and development, including new TB diagnosis tools, more treatment and preventive regimens, as well as several vaccines.

“We all need to sustain the progress we have made in recent years in finding missing TB cases, by scaling up key proven strategies while sustaining advocacy efforts to improve funding from the government and the private sector,” he said.

He noted that KNCV is working with the National Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Control Programme, and the state TB programme in the 14 supported states to improve TB case detection in Nigeria under the USAID-supported TB Local Organisation Network project.


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