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.”