…Targets treatment of 1.1m tuberculosis infected people
Doosuur Iwambe, Abuja
In its bid to end the public health challenge in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have signed an agreement to accelerate response to tuberculosis.
The agreement, according to reports, targets the treatment of 1.1 million tuberculosis-infected people in Nigeria from 2019 to 2022.
Signing the agreement on behalf of the USAID in Abuja on Thursday, USAID Director to Nigeria, Mr. Stephen Haykin, said that USAID had made a commitment of 200 million dollars to fight TB in Nigeria in the past, and reiterated the commitment of the agency to work with relevant stakeholders to achieve this goal.
According to him, the incidence of tuberculosis was still very high globally and many of such cases were in Nigeria.
“Through UN High-level Meeting, Nigeria joins other countries in making commitments to accelerate the fight to end TB by increasing its response efforts at identifying missing cases and enrolling them on treatment.
“We are in partnership not only with the government of Nigeria but with the private sector and other international actors to accelerate and reach out more rapidly to find those missing TB cases and proffer counselling and treatment,’’ Haykin said.
On his part, Dr. Adebola Lawanson, Coordinator, National TB and Leprosy Control Programme, who signed the agreement for the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, lamented that Nigeria was the sixth country with a high burden of TB globally and first with a high burden of TB in Africa.
Lawanson, who said that partnership is crucial in curbing the menace, said that prevention is very essential, adding that apart from treating people affected by the disease, there is also need to prevent people from been infected by the disease.
Also, the Officer in-charge, World Health Organisation, Nigeria, Dr., Clement Peters, said that the signing of the agreement was a milestone in Nigeria’s efforts at ending TB as a public health challenge.
“It also signifies how the partnership is strong for government and people of Nigeria in the overall efforts to halt the spread of TB in the country. He said that the WHO was one of the technical partners working closely with the government of Nigeria to ensure that necessary strategies to end TB were in place,” he stated.