In a bid to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, health experts have suggested that Nigeria must declare a state of emergency on all Tuberculosis (TB) cases.
The National Coordinator of the TB People Nigeria, Tope Adams, disclosed this during a virtual media round table, with the topic: “Journey to end TB by 2030: How far are we?”, jointly organized by the Stop TB Partnership Nigeria and the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP).
According to Adams, if a state of emergency is declared on the disease, it will get more attention from the general public as the disease has claimed many lives.
She said the move will also push necessary persons to put more effort and invest in preventing TB through various available measures including the use of vaccines and TB preventive therapy (TBT).
Also speaking, The Deputy Executive Director of Stop TB Partnership, Suvanand Sahu, said Nigeria is not on track with the SDGs which aim to end TB and other diseases by 2030.
Nigeria can still achieve the target if it immediately aligns with the global plan to end the disease, he said.
According to Sahu, the global plan outlines the actions and estimated financial resources needed to end the disease as a global health threat by 2030.
He explained that efforts made to tackle TB had suffered setbacks due to poor funding.
“The economic return on this investment would amount to US$40 for every US$1 invested and as much as US$59 for every US$1 invested in low- and middle-income countries.
“The mRNA vaccines like the ones used against COVID-19 can be repurposed through technology to serve the prevention of TB.
“We hope they progress fast with that in terms of reduced prices and make it more accessible to countries in Africa,” he said.
On his part, the WHO professional officer on TB in Nigeria, Amos Omoniyi, stressed the need for the country to prioritise investment in TB awareness, especially at the communities where a lot of cases are still undetected.
He also lamented that paucity of funds was a contributing factor to the setback, as about 70 per cent of TB budget in 2021 was not released.
“The number of people falling ill with TB incidence in 2020 is 452,000 meaning, one person every minute. TB incidence rate 2020 is 219 per 100,000 population. TB death rate in 2020 is 75 per 100,000 population.”