Nigeria is billed to host the 2021 National Tuberculosis Conference In November. and is expected to bring together all stakeholders within and outside Nigeria working to end TB in the country.
The chairman 2021 National Tuberculosis Conference and Executive Director, KNCV Nigeria, Dr. Bethrand Odume made this known in Abuja at a media announcement on the STOP TB partnership Nigeria 2021 National TB Conference,
He said the conference would provide an opportunity to deliberate on topical issues in TB, foster, and harness inter-sectoral and institutional collaboration for TB control in Nigeria.
According to him, “As we all know, funding constraints have remained the key challenge towards combatting this deadly disease in Nigeria, and over the past five years, it has been driven largely by external funding sources.”
” To meet the estimated funding gap along with other pertinent issues, there is a need to create an avenue to foster access to research, technologies, innovations and build collaborations/partnership for TB control in Nigeria.”
Dr. Odume noted that the COVID-19 Pandemic has had varying short and long-term impacts on health including TB services in Nigeria.
According to him, “Some of the direct effects on the TB Programme reported include the disruption of access to TB services as a result of prolonged periods of lockdown, treatment interruption potentially breeding drug resistance, as well as the effects of stigma for both healthcare workers and clients amongst many others.”
The Chairman Scientific Committee, and Head, Infectious Disease Unit, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Prof. Lawal Umar noted that despite incremental progress in the quality of TB treatment the overall TB treatment coverage remains low at 27% in 2021.
“And case notifications have marginally increased in the past five years. This situation translates to about 75% of TB patients being missed annually. Of equally great concern is the increasing gap in access to TB services to the pediatric population and other vulnerable groups.”
“Funding constraints have remained the key challenge towards ending TB in Nigeria. Over the years, TB financing has been driven largely by external funding sources. In 2020, it was estimated that the implementation of National Strategic Plan (NSP), for tuberculosis, required about $384 million USD, only 30% was available to all the implementers of TB control activities in Nigeria (7% domestic and 23% donor funds), with 70% funding gap?he added.
On his part, the Acting Board Chairman, Stop TB Partnership, Dr. Ayodele Awe, who observed that last year, there was a 15 percent increase in tuberculosis case detection due to common symptoms shared between COVID-19 and tuberculosis, said Nigeria recorded about 138,000 cases and the previous year was about 110,000 or 120,000 cases.
“We saw at the end of the year, after analysing our data, that we had 15 percent increase in tuberculosis cases; higher than the previous year, and that is the highest number we have ever had in Nigeria. We had about 138,000 cases and the previous year was about 110,000 or 120,000 cases.’he added,