By Royal Ibeh,
11 African countries, which are classified as high burden TB countries in Africa, are expected to get about $500M from Global Fund in the next three years, to fight Tuberculosis (TB).
The African countries benefitting from the grant include Nigeria , Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
Nigeria is expected to get about $143 million from the total grant to improve its health system to effectively respond and contain TB for the next three years.
The Senior Disease Coordinator at the Global Fund, Dr. Eliud Wanerdwalo, who disclosed this at the 33rd Stop TB Partnership virtual Board Meeting, said the fund will be providing additional 70 million to support programmes targeted at finding missing TB cases.
Wanerdwalo said, “We are collectively investing about $500M over the next three years to fight TB, Malaria and HIV. This present about 45 per cent of our investment. So you can see how important these regions are to the Global Fund.
On the impact of COVID-19 pandemic in the fight against TB, Wanerdwalo said, ““COVID-19 pandemic has jeopardised global efforts to save millions of lives and provide access to essential TB care and prevention. Health systems are overstretched due to the unprecedented global health emergency, leading to serious restrictions in access to TB diagnosis, treatment, and prevention services.
“Globally, these disruptions could result in an additional 6.3 million people developing TB and 1.4 million additional deaths resulting from TB between 2020 and 2025. “We leverage countries which we had presented today, and Nigeria will receive $143 million for TB for the next three years.”
Meanwhile, the deputy executive director, Stop TB Partnership Secretariat, Geneva, Suvanand Sahu, has called for more political commitment in the fight against TB in the affected African countries.
Sahu who applauded the Nigerian government for prioritizing on reaching out to missing patients to ensure access to care and prevention of further spread, however advocated for more funding to support the global funding to address the number one killer disease in the world.
Sahu said the areas of investment is to improve the access in diagnosis and purchase of more diagnostic equipment and visit disease and also to improve access to data. He said, “We are investing in communities to be able to undertake screening and diagnosing using community health care workers across. We know that close to over 60 percent of Primary Health Care seeking in Nigeria is through the private sector and there will be a significant investment in improving the network of private health.”