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Minister of Health; Prof. Isaac Adewole briefing the press in Abuja

Nigeria is classified among the 14 countries with high burden for TB, MDR-TB & TB/HIV and contributes 8% to the global 4.1million missing TB cases after India (25%), Indonesia (16%). Nigeria ranks 8th among the high burden MDR TB countries. In Nigeria, 4.3% of new and 25% of previously treated TB cases have MDR TB. TB is one of the 10 causes of death worldwide as reported by WHO. 10.4million people fall ill with TB and as at 2016, 1.7million deaths were recorded.

In commemorating the World TB Day 2018, a one week-long series of activities which began with a pre-press briefing on 15th March, 2018 were organized by NTBLCP, WHO and other partners. Speakers at the event emphasised the need to create more public awareness and called on religious leaders to take steps in further “evangelizing” TB in churches and Mosques with the government playing key role to put an end to the epidemic. The worldwide event aims at creating public awareness about the devastating health and economic consequences of tuberculosis (TB) and efforts being made to prevent, treat the disease and beef up efforts to end the global epidemic.

The theme of this years’ World TB Day which is “Find and Notify all TB cases” and Slogan: “Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free Nigeria”. These centre on calling the media to play key roles in passing relevant messages to government and the people regularly thereby stimulating high-level commitment and political will to end TB. Our leaders at all levels need to be reached – the Head of State, Ministers, Governors, parliamentarians, community leaders and religious leaders at all levels in the Federation.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, during the Ministerial press briefing at Sheraton hotel on 23rd March said the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) has developed a robust National Strategic plan (NSP) for TB (2015 – 2020) as well as a framework to support the declaration of 2017 as a year of accelerating TB case finding and treatment in Nigeria. The implementation of the NSP for TB though not without its limitations has caused noticeable improvements in TB control.

“The National electronic TB information management system (NETIMS) was recently developed to improve real time reporting and monitoring of TB cases. All state actors have been trained on reporting, using this platform”.

He also said “the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari places high premium on health and TB is on its priority list. This is the reason TB is a key component of the PHC services-under-one-roof project of the administration”.

HIFASS staff at the event in Abuja

Also commenting at the close of the event, HIFASS Prevention Manager; Dr Patrick Matemilola said “TB is an infectious disease which is seriously ravaging Nigeria. As we have heard, Nigeria is one of the high burden countries of the world. This is a scourge we all need to fight together. It is very encouraging that the Minister has committed very strong stand against TB and I believe as HIFASS we have played a very significant part. I encourage everyone to start identifying cases and bringing them up for proper treatment. Treatment is free”.