By Hassan Zaggi
For Nigeria to be able to put the growing incidences of Tuberculosis (TB) under control, the country needs a whooping sum of 312 million dollars.
Unfortunately, however, TB has suffered poor funding in Nigeria over the years.
Prof. Lawson Lovett disclosed this in Abuja, yesterday, at a media briefing to announce the date for the 2nd National TB Conference which is coming up on July 17-18, 2019.
“Funding from the federal Government of Nigeria and international donor for the control of this deadly disease, unfortunately, has been grossly inadequate.
“The country needs 76% more funding for TB control compared to the current funding level if we are to end TB in 2030. Other sources of funding are thus required if Nigeria is to meet this target,” revealed Prof. Lovett.
The TB Conference, according to him, is with the theme “Building Stronger Partnerships to End TB in Nigeria” and that it will bring together key actors in TB control in Nigeria and across the globe to deliberate on topical issues involving TB control in the country.
Dr. Lovett who is the chairman of the conference lamented that, “TB presently is a major public health problem with 8-10 million new cases diagnosed yearly, which translates to 1/3 of the world population with about 95% cases in developing countries.
“1.6 million TB patients die each year which is compounded by the fast spread of HIV/AIDS and poor socio-economic status. Each TB patient is capable of infecting 10-15 persons yearly.”
He lamented that despite the fact that governments of 193 countries promised in 2015 to end TB by 2030, the rate of TB decline which is currently at about 1.5% will need to increase dramatically to over 10% by 2025 globally.
While explaining the aim of the conference, Dr. Lovett said: “It is to create an avenue to bring key stakeholders in TB control and the academia together so as to foster access to research, new technologies and innovations in the control of TB in Nigeria; to stimulate the generation of new collaborations for home grown TB research and innovations; create awareness and promote best practices in TB programming in Nigeria and provide platform to foster the designing of evidence based policies for improved TB control in Nigeria.”
The expert however, said that Lagos State has the highest burden for TB in Nigeria.
The high burden of the disease in Lagos state, according to him, is associated with the high population, the high congregate settings and political will.
In order to solicit for more funding and political will to combat the disease, he revealed, the Stop TB Partnership Nigeria in collaboration with other stakeholders will hold a dinner at the Lagos Continental Hotel, on July 14, 2019, for the top executives of corporate organizations to explain to them the current TB situation in Nigeria.