WHO harps on domestic financing of PHCs to end TB

By Hassan Zaggi

The Lead Strategy of the World Health Organisa­tion’s (WHO) TB pro­gramme, Dania Weil, has advo­cated for dramatic increased and sustained domestic financing for primary healthcare in order to end TB in Nigeria.

She stated this when she led a delegation of the Joint United Nations Mission on TB and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) on a courtesy call to the Minister of Health in Abuja, weekend.

She, however, applauded the federal government for its leader­ship and commitments to end TB and also address NCDs.

Weil however, cautioned that “addressing the enormous soci­etal and economic burden of these diseases requires dramatically in­creased and sustained domestic fi­nancing for primary health care. “

Earlier, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, disclosed that about 157,000 Nigerians die of TB in the prime age of 15-34 years.

According to him, Nigeria still ranks high among the seven countries which account majorly for the disease globally and also among the 14 high burden coun­tries for TB, TB/HIV and Multi Drug Resistant TB.

“TB and NCDs are topical prob­lems in Nigeria and both diseases cause high morbidity and mortali­ty at a high cost to individuals and families. They affect the Gross Do­mestic Product (GDP) and leave many families without financial support.

“NCDs cause 41 million deaths globally and 71 per cent of all death globally. And it affects most­ly middle and low income coun­tries like Nigeria. The estimated cumulative economy loss between 2011 and 2015 is about seven tril­lion dollars.

“Nigeria is also one of 14 coun­tries with the triple burden of TB, HIV and associated TB and multi drug resistance TB.

“There are 64,000 children, out of the estimated 429,000 TB cas­es in Nigeria in 2018 and about 157,000 annual deaths due to TB in the most productive age of 15-34 years.

“Given the magnitude of the NCDs and TB in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health invit­ed the Joint Programme Mission on NCDs and TB to Nigeria.

“The Mission came and sup­ported coordinated policies and strategies to curtail both NCDs and TB which pose threat the achievement of the SDGs of the United Nations.”

The Minister, however, reiterat­ed the government’s commitment in implementing the mission’s rec­ommendations, reiterating that: “We cannot achieve the SDGs if we allow NCDs and TB to contin­ue to afflict our people.”

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