By Hassan Zaggi
Nigeria needs a whooping 278 million dollars to combat Tuberculosis (TB) annually.
Painfully, however, only 8 per cent of this funding which is equivalent to 22.24 million dollars is sourced locally. Donors provide the majority of the funding.
There is, however, still a funding gap of 157 million dollars.
The Acting Board Chairman, Stop TB Partnership, Dr Ayodele Awe, disclosed this at a media briefing in preparation for the World TB Day, in Abuja, Tuesday.
He, however, warned that if urgent measures are not put in place, Nigeria is at the verge of not meeting the 2030 target to end TB in the country.
“We have the highest burden in Africa, we are supposed to detect 429,000 each year. Last year was the greatest number that has ever been detected over the ten years. We were able to detect 120,000 cases.
“Where are the 300,000 cases that are still coughing? Every undetected TB case can spread the disease to 15 persons in a year. Multiply that with how many we have each year.
“There are free drugs everywhere, the target elimination for TB is 2030. The progress we are making is not enough.
“The total funds needed for TB each year is $278 million dollars, we are having only 8 percent as domestic, there is a huge gap of $157 million gap that was supposed to help us for advocacy, for increasing service coverage,” he said.
On his part, the Chairman House Committee on Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and Malaria, Abubakar Dajiru, vowed that because of the devastating effect of the TB, each legislator would purchase a tuberculosis-testing machine, called Gene Xpert for their constituency.
He however assured that the House was working assiduously to ensure adequate release of funds for the health sector.
Speaking, the Executive Director, KNCV TB Foundation Dr. Odume Bethrand, reiterated the need to put TB on the political agenda.
“We call on our political leaders to invest more on TB control, the civil society to continue to call for accountability and the media to always help in creating the needed awareness.
“It is a call to scale up research, funding, human rights and accountability to end TB in Nigeria,” he said.