By Hassan Zaggi
The Federal Government has increased the number of TB microscopic centres and GeneXpert machines from 32 in 2012 to 399 in 2020.
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this at a media briefing to mark the World TB Day, in Abuja, yesterday.
He further revealed that the government also expanded TB services to 12,254 health facilities (DOTS centers) in both private and public facilities in the country for Drug Susceptible TB.
Represented by the Director, Public Health, Dr Mildred Ene-bong, the Minister noted that the Federal Government has included TB services in the Primary Health Care (PHC) minimum health care package.
This, according to him, is to ensure the achievement of the universal access to care.
“There are 28 specialised Drug Resistant (DR)-TB treatment centers across the country. Community DR-TB services are also provided in all the 36 states and FCT to enhance access to DR-TB treatment, care and support.
“TB preventive services and other diagnostic services are provided free of charge in these health facilities since 2008 till date.
“Over a million Nigerians have been successfully treated for TB. We have also recorded good case holding as evidenced by a Treatment Success Rate (TSR) consistently
above 80 percent for the past 5 years,” he explained.
Ehanire, however, applauded the private sector for its immense contribution in the fight against TB in the country.
The intervention of the private sector in the provision of GeneXpert and other TB services, he said, has yielded positive results, stressing that the private sector is currently having one of the best diagnostic centers in the country.
“The private sector is also contributing about 13 percent of the TB cases notified in the country.
” We are also scaling up expansion of TB services in private facilities in all 36 states and the FCT in line with our
robust Public-Private Mix DOTS (PPM-DOTS) plan.
“As part of efforts to strengthen TB notification, we have
introduced the National Electronic TB Management Information System (NETIMS) – a digital tool for TB case notification.
“All 774 Local Government Area TB and Leprosy Supervisors (LGA TBLS) and staff from 370 high burden facilities have been trained on NETIMS and provided with tablets for reporting,” he said.
Speaking, the Chairman, Planning Committee of the year 2020 World TB Day, Dr. Odume Bethrand, called on the Federal Government to continue to partner with the private sector in the fight against TB in Nigeria.
He expressed optimism that with the support provided by relevant partners, the high TB burden in Nigeria will be drastically reduced to the barest minimum.