Aisha Buhari Sends Strong Message On TB elimination In Nigeria
The wife of Nigerian President, Aisha Buhari has urged stakeholders to fight against Tuberculosis (TB).
Aisha Buhari called on the stakeholders to collaborate in the fight against this disease in the country.
She made this call at the 2021 National TB Conference on Tuesday at the FCT.
The conference was headlined “sustaining a resilient TB response in Nigeria: Addressing the impact of COVID-19 and other diseases.”
Aisha Buhari lamented the incessant loss of Nigerians to this curable disease.
She called on the support of the Governors’ wives. Aisha Buhari said that their collaboration would improve grass-root awareness.
The wife of the President commended the Ministry of Health and health workers for their response to TB cases.
Aisha Buhari also praised the impact of the anti-stigma programme. The first lady said that through this programme more TB cases are reported and treated.
The health minister, Dr Osagie Ehanire also spoke on ending the disease. He said that TB is one of the diseases the world had decided to eliminate.
Impact of COVID-19 on TB
Ehanire said that the COVID-19 pandemic entirely impacted the health sector.
“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 explained.
He listed the goals of the conference which would last for three days. The goals are:
· Gathering enough evidence to eliminate TB.
· New knowledge to boost global TB control.
· An effort to reverse the negative impact of the pandemic and other diseases on TB control.
The health minister said the country recorded a 30 per cent reduction in GeneXpert testing. This was in the first week of the lockdown.
He revealed that the number of notified TB cases also reduced by 17 per cent from 33,119 TB cases in Q1, 2020 to 27,353 in Q2, 2020.
His words; “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.
“Some of these helpful practices in TB case finding will be shared during this conference, so I urge participants to attend all the sessions”.
Ehanire also noted the progress made in 2021. He said Nigeria had surpassed the TB cases noted in 2020 by seven per cent, nine months into 2021.
He explained that Nigeria still had a long way to go in reaching the TB epidemic target. The health minister also said that most of the country’s TB cases were still 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.
“We must therefore work with our partners to accelerate and scale up our current efforts significantly, mobilize needed domestic and international resources for implementing the National TB Strategic Plan 2021-2025, to end the TB epidemic in Nigeria.
“We look forward to the outcomes and reports of this conference, which we believe will help us further step up TB control efforts,” he added.
Source: The Guardian