Health experts, on Wednesday, advocated for more robust funding and increased awareness on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of tuberculosis in Nigeria.
They made the call during a Tweet meeting organised by AIDS Health Care Foundation (AHF) in collaboration with the Global TB Caucus and Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, in commemoration of 2021 World TB Day.
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World TB Day is celebrated annually to raise awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of tuberculosis and to step up efforts to end the global tuberculosis pandemic.
Ogwuche Deborah, Francophone and West Africa Regional Manager, Global TB Caucus, called for a meaningful engagement and domestic mobilisation with relevant ministries, departments and agencies.
This, she revealed, could lead to a more robust and inclusive approach in the fight against TB, adding that the role of parliamentarians in the fight against TB in the country was very important.
“Increased political will can lead to the formulation of better laws and policies that protects the lives and rights of key and vulnerable population as well as around stigma and discrimination.
“According to WHO estimates in 2019, 440,000 people fell ill from TB in Nigeria and 127,000 died from the disease including 27,000 people with HIV.
“Nigeria comes third behind India and China in terms of TB cases, around 245,000 Nigerians die annually from TB while about 590,000 new cases occur,” she said.
Also, Steve Aborisade, Advocacy and Marketing Manager, AHF-Nigeria, added that more needs to be done by the government, corporate bodies and wealthy individuals as the country’s core funding to TB programmes are donor-driven.
The expert called on the government, cooperative organisations and Nigerians to invest more in funding TB programmes thereby protecting the lives of Nigerians and vulnerable citizens.