By Joyce Remi-Babayeju
As Nigeria marks the 2021 World Tuberculosis, TB, Day, the World Health Organization, WHO, has noted underfunding as a major threat to eradicating the disease from the country.
In a message delivered at a press conference yesterday in Abuja to commemorate the WTBD , the WHO Country Representative to Nigeria, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo made this known.
Mulombo said, “TB control budget in Nigeria continue to be drastically underfunded. About 70% of the TB budget in 2020 were underfunded, this is a major threat to the country efforts in achieving the set targets.”
According to Mulombo, too many people and their household are pushed into poverty when they contract TB due to lost income, transport costs and other expenses, adding that 70% of the TB patients in Nigeria and their families are affected by catastrophic cost due to TB.
He noted that another troubling factor for TB control in Nigeria is low detection, adding that un- detected TB cases can further constitute poor reservoir that can fuel ongoing transmission of TB in the community as one undetected infectious TB case is able to infect between 12 to 15 people every year.
The WHO Nigeria Country Representative said that two years after Nigeria at a UN High Level Meeting on TB in 2018 made a commitment to diagnose and treat over 1.1 million TB cases and place about 2.2 million clients on TB preventive Therapy (TPT) from 2018 to 2022 the country is far away from achieving these targets.
WHO called for collective action across all sectors to address the challenges and accelerate progress towards ending TB in Nigeria by 2030.
Determinants of health such as poverty, under nutrition, tobacco smoking, and co-morbidities such as HIV continue to drive the TB epidemic, WHO noted.
The global health agency said it has developed the multisectoral accountability framework to support Nigeria and all countries to update their TB policies and to implement WHO guidelines.
Mulombo said, “Tuberculosis is curable and treatable; I implore anyone coughing for two weeks or more to go for TB test in the nearest health facility. “
Daybreak reports that the theme for the 2021 World TB Day is ” The Clock is Ticking”.