Experts in tuberculosis management have urged the Nigerian government to mobilise domestic resources to fund tuberculosis control programmes, noting that it is crucial to ending the menace of the health condition by 2030.
The experts noted that Nigeria can only achieve the Sustainable Development Goals target for tuberculosis by 2030 if the country mobilise domestic resources to fund the TB target.
According to the experts, 70 per cent of the TB budget in 2021 was not funded, adding that this makes curbing the health condition in the country difficult.
They lamented that TB-related deaths in Nigeria rose by 0.52 per cent in 2020, compared to previous years, particularly the year 2015.
The experts stated this while speaking at a virtual media roundtable organised by the Stop TB Partnership Nigeria and the National Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Control Programme.
The event was themed, ‘Journey to end TB by 2030: How far are we?’
The World Health Organisation Professional Officer on TB in Nigeria, Dr. Amos Omoniyi, in his presentation at the programme, said that for Nigeria to end TB by 2030, the country must implement data-driven, evidence-based, and technology-enhanced interventions as contained in the National Strategic Plan.
“Unfortunately, TB-related programmes in Nigeria are underfunded. Records indicated that about 70 per cent of the TB budget in 2021 was not funded. So, it’s important to mobilise adequate domestic resources in combating this killer disease,” Omoniyi said.
The TB expert said he is worried that the rise in the number of TB deaths could jeopardise the chances of Nigeria eradicating TB by 2030.
He, however, expressed optimism that progress would be achieved in TB case management in Nigeria if the government implements data-driven, evidence-based, and technology-enhanced interventions as contained in the NSP.
He stated that the number of deaths from TB in 2020 was 156,000, meaning that one person died every three minutes due to TB.
Also speaking at the virtual session, Deputy Executive Director, Stop TB Partnership Geneva, Dr. Sahu Savunand, stated that globally, $250 billion is needed annually to combat TB.
He said there’s hope for Nigeria to end TB by 2030 if it immediately aligns with the global plan to end the disease.
Savunand urged Nigeria to increase domestic funding for TB control through the budget.
Also speaking, Director and National Coordinator, National Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Control Programme at the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Chukwuma Anyaike, said WHO’s post-2015 End TB strategy was adopted by the World Health Assembly in 2014.
According to him, the strategy is aimed at ending the global TB epidemic as part of the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals.
“It serves as a blueprint for countries to reduce TB incidences by 80 per cent, TB deaths by 90 per cent and eliminate catastrophic costs for TB-affected households by 2030.
“The strategy is not a “one size fits all” approach and its success depends on adaptation for a diverse country setting,” he said.
While profiling TB cases in Nigeria, Anyaike said, Nigeria ranked 6th among the high TB burden countries in the world and first in Africa.