The Executive Director of KNCV TB Foundation Nigeria, Dr. Bethrand Odume, has advocated for a strong partnership with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) that are rooted in the communities to combat Tuberculosis (TB).
He made his position known during a virtual pre-conference of this year’s Civil Society Accountability Forum.
The Forum was organised in collaboration with Stop TB Partnership Nigeria with the theme: Integrating community systems and strengthening for effective HIV, TB, malaria and COVID-19 response in Nigeria.
“We need to begin to work with the partners that are already rooted within the community. In TB interventions, we look at hospital attendees, presumptive we are identifying, etc., before we identify the TB cases and roll them in care.
“With the outbreak of COVID-19, all the parameters for TB interventions decrease to an average of 60 percent across the entire TB cascade.
“The primary cascade there is facility attendance. When people are sick and don’t come to the facility, they are actually in the community.
“COVID-19 actually made us rethink our strategy and now we are focusing more on community-based interventions.
“I think that we really need to partner with the CSOs that are already rooted.
“Since we started moving into the communities, most of the TB cases that have been missing in the facilities are actually being found,” he added.
Earlier, the Board Chairman of the Stop TB Nigeria, Dr. Ayodele Awe, revealed that a recent survey showed that, at least 75 per cent of undetected cases of deadly TB diseases are found in the community.
He, therefore, appealed for the integration of community-based approach to finding missing TB across the country.
“Integrating community system strengthening for effectively controlling HIV, TB, malaria and COVID-19 response is very important.
“Civil society plays a prominent and important role in national development, particularly at the community level. “For us in TB, community level is the operational level for TB and the level for the integration of diseases.
“It is at this level that we were told in a previous survey carried out in 2012 on TB, that 75 per cent of the TB cases that we are not detecting are in the community, coughing, and we don’t know them. We cannot move forward without the civil society.
“We need to increase our collaborative activities to ensure that we are able to detect cases.
“We are happy that some key civil society organisations are already working at the community level, but we are hoping that there will be a more integrated civil society organisations because we are still not doing well in TB detection at the community level, particularly because of COVID-19 pandemic,” Awe said: