What Nigeria must do to eradicate Tuberculosis by 2030


For Nigeria to eradicate Tuberculosis (TB) and achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, it must declare a state of emergency on all TB cases in the country.

This was the consensus on Friday when some health experts met with the media at a roundtable to discuss Nigeria’s effort to end TB.

Speaking at the event, the national coordinator of the TB People Nigeria, Tope Adams, said the disease has claimed many lives which calls for the declaration of a state of emergency.

Ms Adams said if a state of emergency is declared on the disease, it will get more attention from the general public.

She said this 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).

She said this will further ensure the country achieves its target of eradicating TB by 2030.

Killer disease

TB, a disease caused by bacterium, often affects the lungs and is identified as the number one infectious killer disease in the world and also among the top 10 causes of death worldwide.

It is spread from person to person through the air. When people with TB cough, sneeze, or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air. A person needs to inhale only a few of these germs to become infected.

Despite being a vaccine-preventable disease, one-quarter of the World’s population, approximately 1.9 billion people, is infected with TB.

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Statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO) also show that every year, about 245,000 Nigerians die from the disease, and about 590,000 new cases occur.

Off the track?

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.

Mr Sahu said the country can still achieve the target if it immediately aligns with the global plan to end the disease.

He said the Stop TB Partnership has unveiled a cost plan which will guide the world in its effort to end TB.

He said the global plan outlines the priority actions and estimated financial resources needed to end the disease as a global health threat by 2030.

He said a global investment of US$250 billion could save millions of lives through early diagnosis and treatment of 50 million people with TB across the world.

ALSO READ: What Nigeria must do to prevent more deaths from tuberculosis

Speaking at the event, WHO professional officer on TB in Nigeria, Amos Omoniyi, said there is need for data-driven implementation and evidence-based technology to enhance interventions as contained in the National Strategic Plans (NSP).

Mr Omoniyi said it is also important to mobilise adequate domestic resources in combating the killer disease. He said TB related programmes in Nigeria are underfunded and about 70 per cent of TB budget in 2021 was not funded.

“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,” he said.

He noted that the number of deaths from TB in 2020 is 156,000, meaning one person died every three minutes due to TB.

Poor funding

Mr Sahu explained that efforts made to tackle TB have suffered setbacks due to poor funding.

He said the amount needed to support the Global Plan’s ambitions is the equivalent of every person in the world donating US$4 per year for the next eight years.

“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. If, instead, the status quo is maintained.”

He also noted that 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.”

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