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As part of its frontal efforts to end the spread of Tuberculosis (TB) in Nigeria, the federal ministry of health on Wednesday in Abuja signed a partnership statement with USAID.

The signing of the historical document will flag off USAID’s new business model – The Global TB accelerator to end Tuberculosis, paving the way for the journey to self-reliance in the TB response in Nigeria.

The Honourable Minister for Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, in his remark explained that the partnership will support the government to ensure that everyone that needs to be reached with diagnostic facilities, treatment and also prevention is reached.

Represented by the National Coordinator, National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP), Dr. Adebola Lawanson, he said “Nigeria is ranked sixth among the countries in the world with high burden of tuberculosis, and highest in Africa for Multi Drug Resistant TB and TB/HIV.

“This partnership will assist us to be able to translate the 72nd United Nations High Level meeting expectations on TB that was held last year September, into real action to put an end to tuberculosis in Nigeria.

“We will use the support to finance interventions, besides the domestic intervention by the federal government and other partners.”

The USAID Mission Director, Dr. Stephen Haykin, said that: “The incidence of untreated cases of tuberculosis in the world is still very high. Many of those cases find themselves in Nigeria.

Through recent UN High Level meeting attended by President Buhari and the Minister of Health, Nigeria joined other countries in making a commitment to accelerate the fight against tuberculosis by increasing investments in efforts to identify those who are not on treatment and to get them into treatment.

“Our target is to reach 1.1 million people by year 2022. We have made a commitment of $200 million in the past and will continue to work along those lines in working with local organizations and international partners to achieve that goal.”

For the Officer in Charge of the WHO in Nigeria, Mr. Clement Peter, “This is a big milestone for Nigeria to be able to end TB as a public health problem.

“This also signifies how partnership is strong for the government and the people of Nigeria to ensure that we work together – the government, donors, technical partners, private sector, and the role of every individual in the communities.

“WHO is one of the technical partners working closely with the government of Nigeria. We have been on this journey to ensure that the necessary strategies to end TB are in place with government.

“We also provide technical support for the National Implementation Plan on TB, and ensure that the necessary standards are met to ensure that we end TB in Nigeria.”

According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2017, Nigeria is ranked first in Africa and sixth globally among the 30 high TB burden countries, and contributes 9% to the global 3.6 million missing TB cases after India (26%).

In 2017, 418,000 people fell I’ll with TB. However, 102,387 cases were notified; 315,613 people were not notified or diagnosed. So we have a missing TB case of 315,613.

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