By Vivian Ihechu
Lagos – Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to ensuring that high premium was continuously placed on the health of Nigerians, while ending Tuberculosis (TB) remains on its priority list.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, gave the assurance on Tuesday in Lagos at the “National Public/Private Mix (PPM) Summit for Tuberculosis Control in Nigeria,’’ where a GeneXpert Machine was donated to El-Lab Ltd.
The health laboratory firm is a private medical diagnostic and research centre.
The event was jointly organised by the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), World Health Organisation (WHO), Lagos State Government, Stop TB Nigeria, among others.
Adewole said: “To achieve our goal of ending TB epidemic by 2030, additional support and effort are required.
“We must expand our current frontiers of control of TB as the disease impacts negatively on the health, welfare of individuals and economy of the nation.
“We require active involvement of private healthcare providers and corporate organisations to make Nigeria free of TB.
“This event is a demonstration of the commitment of this administration.
“As part of our commitment to this partnership, a GeneXpert machine procured by FMoH will be handed over to one of the private diagnostic centres to support active TB case finding in Lagos State.”
According to him, to scale up this gesture to other centres, FMoH requests corporate organisations to be enlisted to support in the provision of diagnostic facility to other health centres.
He said that TB has serious consequences on the affected individuals, families and the nation’s economy.
“It has orphaned children and taken many breadwinners away with severe consequences on the economic welfare of families and also on the economy of the nation.
“This trend must not be allowed to continue,’’ Adewole said.
On efforts made by the ministry in controlling the scourge, Adewole said that the ministry had established the National TB Control Programme, which developed the National TB Strategy 2015-2020 framework.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the framework is aimed at addressing the country’s TB burden.
“The framework is consistent with the ‘End TB Strategy’ and incorporates the most recent internationally recommended diagnostic and treatment strategies.
“With support from a coalition of partners, the country currently delivers TB treatment and care through a network of over 7,000 health facilities accredited by the National TB and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) up from 3,931 in 2,010.
“Similarly, the number of Drug resistant TB (DR-TB) treatment centres has been progressively increased from 10 in 2013 to 28 in 2017.
“ There are ongoing efforts by the ministry to ensure Universal Coverage of TB care and prevention.
“To achieve this, a resolution was passed at the 60th National Council of Health meeting held last year, to include TB service delivery in the Primary Healthcare Minimum Health care package,’’ he said.
The minister added that the cutting-edged technology to enhance TB diagnosis in the country had also been developed.
Adewole said that, in spite of the progress recorded over the years, the TB control efforts was still challenging.
According to him, paramount are the issues of funding, creating awareness and stopping stigmatisation.
Others include locating an estimated 302,000 missing people with TB and 74 per cent of total estimated cases who were not detected annually.