In a bid to end the scourge of Tuberculosis (TB) reportedly killing 18 Nigerians every hour, a national summit organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Federal Ministry of Health, Lagos State Ministry of Health is considering forming a formidable partnership with private sector in the country to nip the problem in the bud.

To this a national summit scheduled to kick off tomorrow to discuss how to effectively engage the private sector has been convened by the stakeholders.

Executive Secretary, WHO, Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, Mayowa Joel said the Summit will hold at Sheraton Hotel Lagos this month to provide a platform for governments, private sector, corporate organizations, private health provider umbrella bodies to discuss and agree on strategies for engagement in TB control in Nigeria.

Joel said stakeholders will also discuss way forward as well as develop road map for private sector engagement in TB control with a view to finding the missing TB cases.

“It is expected that the private sector will support government efforts in TB Control in Lagos State and Nigeria at large.

“The Summit will be declared open by the Honourable Commissioner of health Lagos State, Dr. Jide Idris, while the Honourable Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, will deliver the keynote address.

“Participants expected at the meeting include Heads and Corporate Social Responsibility Units of various companies from different sectors including Oil and Gas; Banking; Telecommunications; Pharmaceutical companies; Foods and Beverages; Entertainment industries, as well as Associations of the Private Health Sector. International and Development Partners from different organizations will also be attending the event,” he added.

Speaking on the menace of the disease, the National Professional Officer, TB, Dr. Ayodele Awe said TB is a disease that is preventable and curable but the burden of the disease in Nigeria is further fuelled by the huge number of undetected TB cases which serves as pool of reservoir for the continuous transmission of the disease.

Awe said each undetected TB case has the potential of infecting 10 to 15 persons in a year.

“TB is a top infectious killer disease that continues to be a global threat with 11 million people developing the disease yearly. Nigeria is among the 10 countries that accounted for 64 percent of the global gap in “missing TB cases” that have not been reported hence very low TB case finding.

“Nigeria, India and Indonesia account for almost half the total gap (WHO Global TB Report 2017). Nigeria is one of the countries with the high burden of disease globally.

“According to the 2017 Global TB Report, Nigeria is among the 14 high burden countries for TB, TB/HIV. It ranked 7th among the 30 high TB burden countries and 2nd in Africa.

“One of the major challenge of TB response in Nigeria is attributed to low TB case findings both in adult and children. This is attributed partly to low TB treatment coverage and poor knowledge about TB that influence the health seeking behaviour of people.

“Nigeria is said to contribute eight per cent of missing TB cases globally which is about 310,000 TB cases in 2016,” he added.