By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
Global Fund and African Union (AU) have committed $143million to assists Nigeria in tackling the scourge of Tuberculosis (TB) in the country.
The two international bodies said the money will run for a period of three years to address the various challenges of tuberculosis.
Speaking virtually at during the 33rd Stop TB Partnership programme themed; ‘TB Response in the African Region: Unprecedented Actions for Unprecedented Times’, the Senior Disease Coordinator at the Global Fund, Dr. Eliud Wanerdwalo, lamented that the COVID-19 pandemic jeopardised global efforts to save millions of lives and provide access to essential TB care and prevention.
He added that the health systems are overstretched owing 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 tuberculosis and 1.4 million additional deaths resulting from TB between 2020 and 2025”.
He listed the 11 countries to benefit from the grant in Africa aside Nigeria to
include; Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana and Kenya.
Others are; Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
“In the next three years, we will be investing about $12.7 million around the world, in low and middle income countries to support countries, with HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria in the 11 countries. We leverage countries which we had presented today, and Nigeria will receive $143m for Tuberculosis for the next 3 years.”
He said the fund is to scale up their TB programs, and also the commitment to continue to support the programs, even in this challenging period of COVID- 19.
On his part, the Deputy Executive Director, Stop TB Partnership Secretariat, Geneva , Suvanand Sahu, emphasized that 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 added that, investing in communities is key to ensure screening and diagnoses using community health care workers across the country.