…Prepares for World TB Day

From Fred Ezeh, Abuja

KNCV Nigeria, a Non-Governmental Organization dedicated to the fight against Tuberculosis (TB) and other related diseases of public health concern in Nigeria said it’s impressed with the successes recorded so far in the fight against TB in Nigeria.

It attributed that to the dedication of all stakeholders including the field officers and donor partners who are committed to case finding, management and treatment.

The organization, however, insisted that it won’t relent until all missing cases of TB are found and put in treatment, insisting that “a TB case somewhere is a TB everywhere.”

Dr. Bethrand Odume, the Executive Director, KNCV Nigeria, told journalists at a press conference, in Abuja, on Tuesday, that TB remains a burden in Nigeria, hence everyone was invited to join the National Tuberculosis Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Control (NTBLCP) program in the country in the fight to ensure that the desired result is achieved.

Dr. Odume said the press conference was part of events lined up for the 2024 World TB Day, which will be used to raise global awareness on the menace of TB and the need to identify missing cases and put them to treatment.

He said: “KNCV Nigeria is a globally recognized center of excellence in TB control, and it’s at the forefront of the fight against TB in Nigeria. We have aligned with NTBLCP’s National Strategic Plan 2020 to 2025 by adopting a mixed model of community and facility-based health systems strengthening strategies and digital solutions to find TB cases.”

He appealed for additional funding and support that would strengthen the fight against TB with focus on case finding and linkage to treatment centres.

Dr. Queen Ogbuji-Ladipo, the Acting Board Chairman, Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, in her remarks, explained that World TB Day is an international day celebrated annually on the 24th of March. “It’s a day set aside globally to raise awareness of the TB burden, its prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment, and care, and to mobilize political commitment to resources and healthcare financing for TB.”

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She said the event will offer opportunity to partners to engage and interact with the political class, decision makers, donor partners, reflecting on the progress made so far, the challenges that persist, and the collective efforts required to overcome the identified challenges.

“TB continues to be a major public health concern. It has claimed far too many lives each year, particularly in Nigeria. Despite advancements in medicine and healthcare, TB remains a formidable health adversary, disproportionately affecting vulnerable populations and underserved communities.

“However, amidst these challenges, there lies hope in the tireless dedication of healthcare professionals, researchers, policymakers, and advocates who work tirelessly to combat TB and improve the lives of those affected,” she said.

She appealed to the media to lend their voices to the crucial cause, join hands in solidarity, and advocate for policies and actions that prioritize TB prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. “Together, we can make a difference, Yes we can end TB.”

Temitope Adetiba, Senior Manager and TB Lead Global Fund Project, Institute of Human Virology of Nigeria (IHVN), said the Institute has worked specifically with funders such as Global Fund against AIDS, TB and Malaria and also more recently USAID, in responding to the issue of TB in Nigeria.

Adetiba said: “In the last five years, over 200,000 people affected by TB have been notified through these efforts working collaboratively with our partners across 31 states. We are in another phase of the global fund grant in Nigeria, and this time around we are scaling services around each state of the federation.”