In a bid to stamp out Tuberculosis (TB) by 2030, the federal government has pledged to increase the budget allocation to TB control in the 2019 health budget.
The minister of health, Prof. Isaac Adewole who disclosed this at the National Summit on Public Private Mix (PPM) for tuberculosis control in Nigeria on Tuesday, said for every $1 invested in TB control, there is $25 return on investment.
As part of efforts to control TB in Nigeria, Adewole said the ministry of health established the national TB control programme, which developed the National TB strategy 2015 to 2020 framework to address the country’s TB burden.
He said the framework is consistent with the End TB Strategy and incorporates the most recent internationally recommended diagnostic and treatment strategies.
The minister said the ministry in collaboration with a broad of partners is currently providing free TB services in over 7,000 health facilities in the country, where over 100,000 TB cases were notified and treated in 2017.
“The TB cases notified in 2017 only represent about 25 per cent of the estimated TB cases in the country. The remaining 75 per cent of the estimated TB cases that are undetected remain in the community, leaving a high probability of transmission of the disease to other people.
“We are working hard to address the menace. The country currently delivers TB treatment and care through a network of over 7,000 health facilities accredited by the National TB and leprosy control programme up to 3,931 in 2010.
“Similarly, the number of drug resistant TB treatment Centres has been progressively increased from 10 in 2013 to 28 in 2017. A resolution was passed at the 60th National Council of Health meeting held last year, to include TB service delivery in the Primary Health Care Minimum Healthcare Package.”
Adewole said a total of 2,650 microscopy Centres exists to support treatment monitoring, adding that the number of TB reference laboratories has also increased from eight in 2013 to 10 in 2018 to support the management of drug resistance TB.
In spite of all the progress recorded over the years, the minister said the TB control efforts is still challenged in areas like finding an estimated 302,000 missing persons with TB that are not detected annually.
“The proportion of undetected TB cases was even higher among children where 87 per cent of the estimated TB cases in this group of 56,000 were undetected,” he added.
To achieve our goal of ending the TB epidemic by 2030, Adewole said additional support and effort is required. He however called on the private sectors to join in the fight against TB, as ending the menace is possible with commitment from all stakeholders.
In the same vein, the commissioner for health, Lagos state, Dr. Jide Idris said most of the challenges of TB control have to do with funding and these can be resolved with additional supports.
Idris said there are huge resources in the private sector, adding that the Lagos state government wish to tap into some of these resources to drive out TB from the state and Nigeria at large.
He said, “Today, 65 per cent of our directly observed treatment Centres are private health facilities. In the immediate past quarter, 15.5 per cent of cases registered with the Lagos state TB control programme were from these private facilities.
“The key areas where supports are required from PPM towards fast tracking TB control include sponsoring advertisement in newspapers, bill boards, branding BRT buses, sponsoring of radio and television jingles and procuring additional GeneXpert machines to aid TB diagnosis,” he added.