By Hassan Zaggi
The National Coordinator, National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme of the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Chukwuma Anyaike, has warned that Tuberculosis (TB) is not respecter of anyone whether rich or poor.
He, therefore, called on concerted collective efforts to fight diseases.
Dr. Anyaike who gave the warning at a media briefing to mark World TB Day yesterday, disclosed that an estimated 138, 000 new cases of TB were recorded in Nigeria in year 2020.
“TB is curable, we have hope if we do the right thing to arrest the menace of TB .
“But I must warn that TB is not a respecter of any person whether rich or poor because it cuts across all strata of life but is more with those with reduced immunity or nutrition and terminal diseases.
“So all hands must be on deck if we must achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ,and also join other countries in achieving Universal Health Coverage.”
Dr Anyaike further revealed that Nigeria ranked first in Africa in the burden of TB, and is also among the 30 high burden countries with the disease globally.
He said there was an urgent need for everyone to increase efforts towards tackling the burden of the disease.
He called for increased sensitization of the populace about the disease , and efforts to end stigma and discrimination for people suffering from the disease.
Speaking, the Vice Chairperson of the Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, Dr. Queen Ogbuji, insisted that stakeholders must redouble their efforts in raising awareness and also mobilize the needed resources to help achieve the UN high level mission target of ending TB by 2022.
According to her, world leaders have till December 2022 to live up to their promise of ending TB or risk losing thousands of lives to the curable and preventable disease.
“The clock is ticking for all stakeholders to unite towards achieving the political declarations on achieving TB targets,” she noted.
On his part, the Country Director of the KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, Dr Bethrand Odume, advocated increased investment in TB funding in Nigeria.
He disclosed that there was a 70 % gap in TB funding at the end of 2019.
He said the federal government was responsible for only 7% of the TB funding while USAID provides 23 % of the funding.
Dr. Odume appealed to Nigerians to take advantage of the free testing for TB and get tested so as to detect the disease early.