Written by Williams ABAH

USAID calls for multi-sectoral approach in tackling TB in Nigeria

The United State Agency for International Development, USAID, has urged the Nigerian government to explore a multi-sectoral approach to locate ‘missing cases’ of Tuberculosis in the country.

A representative of the International agency, Temidayo Odusote, said this at a World Tuberculosis Day Media briefing in Abuja.

She said various healthcare practitioners need to come together to curb the spread of TB in Nigeria.

Temidayo also said TB efforts in Nigeria have been mostly donor-driven. “We want to focus more on multi-sectoral collaboration for TB.

“We have in the past talked majorly on a lot of medical, open a clinic and assume that patients will come.

“We have all kinds of healthcare packages in Nigeria. We have the informal healthcare practitioners, private sector practitioners and it is important that we reach out to them to join this fight against TB".

She added that there is need to work with the lawmakers for a legal backing in all the government is doing to eradicate TB in the country.

She said "We really need to work with politicians, and extend it to the grassroots. We can’t do it alone. We have to reach out to other sectors to come and fund this fight,” she said.

World Tuberculosis TB is observed on March 24 every year.

It was learnt that Nigeria remains one of the 30 countries globally with the highest burden of the disease. Nigeria ranks first in Africa with the highest number of undetected cases.

According to a recent statistic TB is one of the vaccine-preventable killer diseases which is also curable. Nigeria ranks high among countries with a high burden of TB, TB/HIV, and Multidrug-resistant TB.

It was also gathered that in 2019, the World Health Organisation, WHO, reported that eight countries – India, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and South Africa – accounted for two-thirds of the new TB cases globally.

Nigeria comes third behind India and China in terms of tuberculosis cases.

Statistics from the UN health agency show that every year, around 245,000 Nigerians die from tuberculosis and about 590,000 new cases occur out of these, around 140,000 are also HIV-positive.

The chairman, Organising Committee of the 2020 World Tuberculosis Day, Odume Bethrand, said despite significant progress in the last decade, TB remains the world’s deadliest infectious killer.

He said there is a need to accelerate efforts to end TB globally particularly in Nigeria.

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