By Luminous Jannamike
ABUJA – About 302, 096 out of 407, 000 cases of tuberculosis, TB, went undetected in 2017, the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) has revealed.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja on Thursday ahead of the 2017 World TB Day, National Coordinator of NTBLCP, Adebola Lawanson, said, “the 2017 WHO Global TB report revealed that Nigeria is among the ten countries that accounted for 64 percent of the global gap in TB case finding with India, Indonesia and Nigeria alone accounting for almost half the total gap.
“In 2017, Nigeria notified a total of 104, 904 TB cases which is 26 percent of the estimated 407, 000 TB cases for the country in the same year. This huge gap in TB case finding is much higher among children aged zero to 14 with a child proportion of seven percent for 2017.”
Against that background, she said that the Federal Ministry of Health has declared 2018 a year to accelerate finding and notification of TB cases amidst concern that Nigeria is among seven countries that accounted for 67 percent of the total global burden.
Represented by Dr. Muhammad Ozi Ahmed, the NTBLCP Coordinator said Nigeria’s declaration “aims at mobilising political commitment and resources from all levels of government and partners for the implementation of strategic TB case interventions for early TB case finding and prompt treatment.”
Lawanson, however, noted that “achieving the reduction in TB incidence rate for attainment of the 90-90-90 target target of the END TB strategy will be a mirage, if something drastic is not done.”
On his part, Dr. Bassey Nsa, Country Director (Challenge TB program) of KNCV, which partners the Federal Ministry of Health in TB control, treatment and prevention, said a lot more political commitment and funding is required from governments at all levels to bring down the fight Nigeria’s TB scourge.
“Government’s political commitment towards fighting the scourge of TB is not enough. Government’s put in about four out of 15 percent supposedly set aside as TB commitment. Partners put in about 60 percent. That means we have about 64 percent funding commitment. There are still funding gaps that need to be filled,” he said.