By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
Stakeholders in the health sector have called for more funding and increased awareness to curb tuberculosis challenges in the country.
Their submissions came to the fore during a tweet meeting organised by AIDS Health Care Foundation (AHF).
At the meeting organized in collaboration with Global TB Caucus and premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, in commemoration of 2021 World TB Day, Mr Sola Charles, Health Editor Vangard Newspaper, on his official tweeter handle stated that no one should die from TB, as the disease was preventable and treatable, stressing that TB vaccine had been in existence for a century.
He noted that reports revealed that Nigeria had recorded some achievements, saying about 581,000 Nigerians received treatment between 2015 and 2020 in 12 states across the country.
He added that more effort was needed to end the disease.
Charles stressed the need for a more intensive mass media intervention to assist in generating knowledge about the diseases in order to reduce stigma and promote awareness on diagnosis, prevention and treatment.
Going forward, he called on Federal Government to redeem the pledge made in 2018, to place about 1.2 million Nigerians on TB treatment by 2022.
Also, Ogwuche Deborah, Francophone and West Africa Regional Manager, Global TB Caucus, called for a more meaningful engagement and domestic mobilisation with all relevant ministries, departments and agencies.
“Such approach with the relevant ministries such as ministry of women affairs, finance, and information could lead to a more robust and inclusive approach in the fight against the diseases.
“Also, the role of parliamentarians in the fight against TB in the country was very important.
“Increased political will can lead to the formulation of better laws and policies that protects the lives and rights of key and vulnerable population as well as around stigma and discrimination.
“According to WHO, estimates that in 2019, 440,000 people fell ill from TB in Nigeria and 127,000 died from the disease including 27,000 people with HIV.
“Nigeria comes third behind India and China in terms of TB cases, around 245,000 Nigerians die annually from TB while about 590,000 new cases occur,” she said.
On his part, Steve Aborisade, Advocacy and Marketing Manager, AHF-Nigeria, urged government at all levels, philanthropists and to support the fight against tuberculosis.