Nigeria to eradicate Tuberculosis by 2030


By Raymond Adebayo
March 22, 2023, 5:43 p.m.



 

As Nigeria joins the global community to celebrate World Tuberculosis Day, the Federal government has expressed hope of eradicating the disease by 2030.

Ahmad Muhammad Ozi, the director in the Federal Ministry of Health working with the Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme, disclosed this during a roadshow to mark the 2023 World Tuberculosis Day in Abuja.

The roadshow aimed at creating awareness was witnessed by representatives from the government and civil society organisations working on prevention and eradication of tuberculosis in Nigeria.

Addressing journalists during the roadshow, Ozi said: “As you are aware, the 24th of March is marked as World Tuberculosis Day all over the world yearly, and the essence is to create awareness because it has been observed that the awareness of the Tuberculosis Programme is low in Nigeria.

“From the policies of the Federal Government, we are working to ensure that tuberculosis is prevented from the communities in the country. TB is a curable disease, and we have earmarked some of the policies that can influence TB control in Nigeria. For instance, the diagnosis of TB in every community in Nigeria is free. The policy also states that the treatment of the disease is also free.

“We are thinking of totally eradicating tuberculosis by the year 2030, but as it is, we still have a long way to go in Nigeria because from what we had last year, we were able to notify over 280, 000 new cases out of about 400, 000 cases. We have covered up to 40 percent of the notification rate, so we still have a long way to go. We will try as much as we can to get the Tuberculosis Response Programme to the nearest minimum.

“We are not meeting the target for now, because if we have over 400, 000 cases we are supposed to notify, and we are notifying just 280, 000, we have a lot of missing cases in the country.”

Also speaking on the essence of the day, Bolatito Aiyenigba, Deputy Project Director, Tuberculosis Breakthrough Action Nigeria, urged Nigerians to get tested because it’s free.

Lamenting that some Nigerians are dying in silence, Aiyenigba urged those suffering from the disease to call the 3340 helpline.

She said: “Globally, there is a drive to end tuberculosis. We believe we can end the disease because there is a concerted effort globally to put resources into science in a bid to get rid of the disease. With support from partners, the Federal Government has made a great effort to get the new tools and appropriate diagnostic materials and let the people know that these things are there.

“For a long time in Nigeria, testing for TB has been free, but people don’t know, so they are suffering in silence. In order to address that, the national programme has created a national campaign tagged “Check am oo, because who no go, no go know.” The good thing with Tuberculosis is that the treatment is available and free, it can be totally cured.

“We have been making progress; from data from the National Tuberculosis Control Programme, you will see the progress we have made over the years. Before, they said we had only 24 notification rates, but now we are almost up to 50 percent, and our target is 100 percent so everybody with tuberculosis will get help and treatment. Everybody around them is put on preventive treatment, so they don’t come down with the disease.”

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