Aisha Buhari Tasks Stakeholders On TB Elimination

Hails anti-stigma programme

 

aisha buhari
aisha buhari

As the fight against tuberculosis (TB) continues, wife of Nigerian President, and Global Tuberculosis (TB) Ambassador, Mrs Aisha Buhari on Tuesday, tasked stakeholders on the need to work together to eliminate the deadly disease in the country.

Mrs Buhari, represented by the First Lady of Niger State, Amina Bello, made the call at the 2021 National TB Conference, tagged “sustaining a resilient TB response in Nigeria: Addressing the impact of COVID-19 and other diseases”.

She said that Nigeria still lose its citizens to the disease, despite it being curable. She also hailed the anti-stigma programme.

“Through the anti-stigma programme more people were coming forward to report TB cases and access treatments that would boost its elimination.”

“with the help of governors’ wives more awareness was being created on TB, particularly in the rural areas”, she added.

The minister of health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said ”We know that we still have a way to go to reach the targets for ending the TB epidemic, and that most of our TB cases are yet undetected. We are not as close as we would like to the United Nations High Level Meeting (UNHLM) target on TB case finding, TB Preventive Treatment (TPT) and other TB thematic areas set to be achieved by 2022 and the milestones for ending TB in Nigeria.”

Speaking on the efforts and achievements so far, Ehanire noted that the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and its control measures impacted many aspects of human endeavour, including Health services and in some cases, reversed gains made over the years in aspects of health programmes that affected TB control.

“The pandemic brought 2020 global case finding levels back to 2012 level, with an 18 per cent reduction in the number of patients diagnosed with TB dropping from 7.1 million in 2019 to 5.8 million in 2020.

“Thus setting global case finding efforts back by eight years,” he added.

He also said that the number of notified TB cases also dropped by 17 per cent from 33,119 TB cases in Q1, 2020 to 27,353 in Q2, 2020.

“This necessitated the conceptualisation and implementation of innovative interventions to ensure programme sustainability and mitigate the impact on TB control efforts.

“The implementation of which resulted in an eventual 15 per cent increase across the country, in the number of TB cases notified from 120,266 TB cases in 2019 to 138,591 TB cases in 2020.

“It made the nation one of the few countries that recorded an increase in TB notification in 2020, in spite of the pandemic.

“Key among the interventions was a strategic engagement of the private sector, the introduction of targeted, data-driven community TB case finding activities.

“Integration of TB case finding in COVID-19 outreaches, active TB and integrated TB/COVID-19 case finding activities in health facilities among others.

According to the minister, nine months into 2021, Nigeria had already surpassed the total number of TB cases notified in all of 2020 by about seven per cent.

“for the first time, Nigeria could be notifying up to 200,000 TB cases by the end of 2021,” he said.

Also speaking at the event, World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative in Nigeria, Walter Molumbo, commended the country’s efforts towards the elimination of the disease.

Molumbo said as a technical partner, WHO will be supporting the National TB programme at all levels required.

“This include the development of guidelines, adoption of new strategies, regimen, and interventions in addition to building capacities and enhancing data analysis and use for optimising performance.”

“We will also support the country in the implementation of the multisectoral approach towards ending the TB epidemic in Nigeria,” he added.

On his part, The Acting Board Chairman, Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, Ayodele Awe, said the conference aims to galvanise action towards ending TB in Nigeria and across the world.

He said participants at the three day conference would deliberate on the way forward for TB elimination.

 

 

 

 

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