Most TB patients in Borno not assessing drugs – Commissioner

The Borno Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Prof. Baba  Gana says most of the estimated 16,000 tuberculosis patients in the state are not showing up for treatment.

Gana made this known in Maiduguri while addressing a meeting of stakeholders as part of events to commemorate this year’s World Tuberculosis Day.

The Commissioner noted that so far, only 5,905 had been identified and placed on treatment leaving behind over 10,000 people presumably missing. 

“The implication is that the 10,000 people are capable of infecting many more residents who come in contact with them.

“That’s why I am appealing to all here to be advocates of diagnosing TB.

“The ministry will continue to engage partners in improving the situation.

“That’s why we appointed a new programme manager for TB and the  marching order is that we want to see this figure changed from red to green all over the state.

“I want to see this situation of Borno described as a ticking time bomb defused”, the commissioner said.

He noted that the Borno Government had complied with the Abuja Declaration that encouraged African countries to dedicate 15 per cent of their budget to the health sector, adding that TB would have its fair share in the state budget of 2024 where over 15 per cent was dedicated to health. 

While commending partners like WHO, Global Fund, UNICEF and USAID for their support to the state, Gana urged the media to enlighten those with symptoms of TB to come out for free test and treatment.

“Parents should also ensure vaccination of their children against TB which is just once in a lifetime and free”, Gana said.

In his goodwill message for WHO and other partners, the Borno Coordinator of WHO, Dr Ibrahim Salisu said each day, close to 3,800 people lost their lives to TB worldwide while about 30,000 fall ill from the preventable and curable disease. 

“Global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 75 million lives since the year 2000. There was a significant worldwide recovery in the scale- up of TB diagnosis and treatment services in 2022. 

“It shows an encouraging trend starting to reverse the detrimental effects of covid-19 disruptions on TB services.

“In its latest Global Tuberculosis Report, WHO highlighted that more than 7.5million people with TB received access to diagnosis and treatment in 2022, the highest since we began monitoring almost 30 years ago,” Salisu said.

While reiterating the commitment of WHO to support Borno, Salisu said that WHO had just concluded the training of 60 state and local government’s TB and Leprosy Control Managers in the state.

“WHO will continue to provide technical Support, drugs and commodities and ensure adequate case detection, treatment and data management.

“All hands must therefore be on deck to change the TB narrative in Borno .”

In his remarks, the Borno Programme Manager of TB, Dr Ali Goni, said ending TB required concerted action by all sectors to provide the right services, support and enabling environment.

“We have seen the political will and commitment in the state in the fight against tuberculosis, support from WHO and other partners with that collaborative effort, we will change the narrative of tuberculosis in Borno,” Goni said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that highlight of the occasion was  a road walk to create public awareness and a presentation on TB cases among children below 10 years in Maiduguri by Medecins San Frontieres (MSF) who indicated that it has diagnosed 328 cases at one of its facilities in Maiduguri.

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