More children in Nigeria contracting Tuberculosis – FG raises alarm
National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTLCP) of the Federal Ministry of Health has raised the alarm that more children in the country are now contracting TB.
National Coordinator of the agency, Dr. Chukwuma Anyaike, who disclosed this while speaking to health journalists in Abuja, on plan for the commemoration of the World TB Day in Nigeria, said the situation is ‘worrisome,’ and can only mean that the country might have a future population of unhealthy citizens.
While soliciting the support of all stakeholders at improving efforts on case findings and treatment, Anyaike said that despite ‘tremendous progress in the past few years, more work is still required to tackle the disease by 2030, and we must start by identifying thousands of missing cases and bring them into treatment.’
“Similarly, we need to change our case detection strategies. At the national programme level, we have put in some measures with the help of our partners, to increase our case detection and also increase our momentum on identification of the cases, particularly among the children who are increasingly coming down with the disease.
“Of the 285, 000 missing cases that we were able to identify last year, only six percent of them were children. So, we need to do more to save the lives of our children, particularly those that are down with TB.
“Undoubtedly, we have a huge gap of funding, up to 68 per cent, but we must continue to work hard to ensure that the available resources provided are judiciously used for the fight against TB.”
Also speaking at the vent, Executive Director, KNCV Nigeria, Dr. Bethrand Odume, disclosed that there has been a decrease in TB prevalence over the years, which he said, could be attributed to the advancement in diagnosis, treatment and prevention.
“But despite the progress and successes achieved, TB remains a significant global health challenge, and one of the world’s deadliest infectious disease that must be tackled with utmost urgency and responsibility.
“We can only achieve the desired goal through government, communities and stakeholders buy-in. We need more education on TB, more importantly on the detection, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.”
He further stressed the need to intensify advocacy to the government and organized private sector to increase funding for TB programmes in the country.
“Funding for TB has remained a key challenge to support programme activities towards closing the TB treatment coverage gap which stands at 66 per cent as at the end of 2021,” he added.
Dr. Odume who doubles as chairman of 2023 National World Tuberculosis Day Planning Committee, disclosed that the theme of this year’s event “Yes! We can end TB,” was designed to bring attention to TB, adding that it is in the collective power of Nigerians to end the disease by 2030 in line with SDG goal.