First Lady and Global TB Champion and Ambassador, Mrs Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, has pledged to use her position to call for more resources from government at all levels to bridge the huge cap of Tuberculosis (TB) in Nigeria.
She also promised to form an alliance with Africa First Ladies to end TB on the continent and engage all the first ladies in the 36 states as TB champions in their respective states.
Mrs. Buhari said this at the opening of the National Tuberculosis (TB) Conference on Wednesday in Abuja with the theme: “Building Stronger Partnerships to End TB in Nigeria”, while calling on all stakeholders, including CSOs, academia religious and traditional institutions and media to work together to end TB in Nigeria.
She, however, urged all stakeholders to count on her support to end TB in Nigeria.
According to her, “This conference is taking place at a very important time when Nigeria needs to pay attention to the issue of tuberculosis as it has now become the number one infectious disease killer in the world. Nigeria currently has the highest number of tuberculosis cases in Africa and the sixth highest in the world. Approximately, 600,000 people become infected with tuberculosis every year in Nigeria and it is projected that up to 60,000 of these new cases affect children.
“Also tuberculosis is the most common cause of death in persons living with HIV/AIDs and children with the emergence of drug resistance TB.”
“It is also not acceptable that Nigeria is having one of the lowest TB case detection rate in the world as it is currently dictating 25% of TB cases and with over 170,000 Nigerians dying annually from the preventable and curable disease. This is not an enviable position for any country and it must change. This is why the theme of this conference is very important and strategic as it calls on all stakeholders to work together in a stronger partnership to end TB in Nigeria.”
Also, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Mr Abdullahi Mashi, said a lot still needed to be done to eradicate tuberculosis in Nigeria, adding that key challenges mitigating against TB control in Nigeria included low TB case detection in children.
According to him, the Federal Ministry of Health has responded to the challenges by instituting a rapid and response to TB diagnosis services in both public and private facilities across the country; integration of TB services into reproductive maternal newborn and adolescent health services.
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