Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The National Coordinator, National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme, Dr Adebola Lawnson, disclosed in a statement on Tuesday that over $300 million is required to close the funding gap for Tuberculosis (TB) control in Nigeria by 2030.
The TB programme coordinator raised concerns over rising cases of Tuberculosis among children under the age of five, mostly due to malnutrition, exposure to untidy environment and overpopulation.
Nigeria currently enjoys 24 percent funding, with most of it coming from private individuals, said Dr Ahmed Ozi, who represented Lawnson at a press conference in Abuja
Lagos has the highest burden of TB in Nigeria, he disclosed, citing the city state’s high population density as a contributing factor.
The Chairman, Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, Prof. Lovett Lawson, who spoke on the forthcoming National TB conference with the theme “Building Stronger Partnership to end TB in Nigeria”, expressed worry that in spite of many efforts, Tuberculosis cases have not declined appreciably in the country as had been anticipated.
About 8 to10 million new cases are diagnosed each year, he said, a statistic that translates to a third of the worldwide TB population, with about 95 percent of cases in developing countries.
Lawson highlighted that each TB patient is capable of infecting 10-15 other persons annually, with records indicating that 1.6 million TB patients die annually; an epidemic compounded by the fast spread of HIV/AIDS and poor standards of living.
He talked about changing approaches to fighting TB, an airborne disease.
Speaking of aim of the forthcoming TB conference, he talked about bringing key stakeholders in TB control to foster access to research, new technologies and innovations in the control of the disease in Nigeria.
The conference, he said, will stimulate the generation of new collaborations for home grown TB research and innovations, and also create awareness and promote best practices in TB programming in Nigeria.