By Ndidichukwu Odoh
Few days to the end of 2019 fiscal year, the Nigerian government has released only 8% of its commitment of the $278 million counterpart funding needed for control and treatment of Tuberculosis.
Nigeria, USAID and other donor partners committed to mobilize resources to control the spread of Tuberculosis, but a 60% release and funding gap remains as the 2019 fiscal year ends this March.
In 2018, about 1.4 million people globally died of TB-related causes including over 205,000 children. Over 95% of TB deaths occurs in low and middle income countries especially Africa. Nigeria is one of the countries with the high burden of diseases globally.
According to the 2018 Global TB report, Nigeria is among the 30 high burden countries for TB, TB/HIV, and Drug Resistance TB. Nigeria ranked 6th among the 30 high TB burden countries and 1st in Africa.
“TB kills 18 Nigerian every hour” says Stop TB Partnership in Nigeria. A scary figure that has not changed political will and perception to prioritize funding for control and treatment yet.
“TB is an infectious disease, Nigerians are getting infected every day, and we must pay attention to the risk and lives that are lost to this preventable and curable disease, and commit both financial and human resources to control the spread” said Mayowa Joel, TB Partnership Nigeria.
To accelerate the TB response in countries to reach targets-Heads of States including Nigerian President came together and made a strong commitment to end TB at the first ever UN high level meeting in September 2018, however, poor funding, and political will remain a challenge to efforts by stakeholder’s combating the deadly disease in Nigeria.
“TB is passed from person to person through air, people easily get infected by contact with a TB patient, we want this discussion to be a political agenda, because of its huge socio-economic impact on the affected persons, their families and the country as a whole” said Dr. Odume Bethrand. Executive Director KNCV Nigeria.
As the world commemorates 2020 World TB day, Nigerian stakeholder’s are saying that it time to “End TB in Nigeria”, through scale up of access to prevention and treatment, building strong accountability mechanisms, ensuring sufficient and sustainable financing including for research.
The Nigeria TB Partnership also are advocating for implementation of policies to promote an end to stigma, discrimination and equitable rights-based and people-centered TB response.