By Danmaryam Zayamu
The US Agency for International Development (USAID), has declared its intention to continue to strengthen TB prevention, care and treatment in Nigeria.
Speaking at the close-out dissemination meeting of Challenge TB activity, in Abuja, yesterday, USAID/Nigeria Mission Director, Stephen Haykin, disclosed that: “For the last five years, Challenge TB has anchored USAID’s TB portfolio in support of the government of Nigeria’s National TB and Leprosy Control Programme.
“Since 2014, Challenge TB has provided technical support to the National TB programme in 14 states, helping to close gaps in diagnosis and treatment of TB, contributing to improving success to TB services, preventing TB disease progression and strengthening TB services delivery platforms.
“Between 2014 and 2018, the last year with complete data, more than 581,000 Nigerians were treated for TB under Challenge TB’s auspices, and treatment coverage improved from 15 per cent in 2015 to 24 per cent today.”
The USAID has further revealed that it has concluded plans to build on and scale-up past successes to strengthen TB prevention, care and treatment in Nigeria.
The Head of Mission, however, said: “The irony of TB eradication in Nigeria is that the disease has clear symptoms, is easily diagnosed, is 100 per cent treatable and the treatment is free.”
On his part, the KNCV Country Director, Bethrand Odume, called for the strengthening of the health sector in Nigeria as, according to him, this is the major challenge confronting the fight against TB.
“The major challenge is the weak health system. We can provide the drugs and all other things but when you don’t have people at the facility to attend to them is a challenge.
“You know people normally receive TB services at the lower level of health care,” he said.