WORLD TUBERCULOSIS DAY, 2020 - END-TB NIGERIA
Each year, we commemorate World Tuberculosis Day on March 24th to raise public awareness about the world’s deadliest infectious killer. Globally, over 4000 people lose their lives to TB and close to 30,000 people fall ill with this preventable disease daily. In Nigeria, not less than 400,000 people have TB each year with about 154,000 deaths from TB. In addition, 63,000 people living with HIV get TB each year. Two years after the first ever UN High-level meeting which seeks to END TB by accelerating the TB response to save lives and end sufferings, it is unfortunate that Nigeria is rather getting worse on the ladder. Nigeria is the worst hit in Africa and 5th in the world with the largest burden on the children, women of reproductive age and people living with HIV. It has been said that achieving reduction of 90-90-90 target END TB strategy will be a mirage. To end TB scourge, all stakeholders should go back to the drawing board and leaving no stone unturned.
A model used by Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) on improving Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) with Nutrition can be adopted in achieving the vision of ending TB by year 2030. Good political will and right partnership with relevant stakeholders, continuous sensitization and advocacy to women and children especially in the rural areas, continuous training of shealth workers, continuous and sustainable community engagement and good data collection are pivotal to achieving results beyond clinical treatment. Wellbeing Foundation Africa in collaboration with National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Program (NTBLCP) engaged the students and staff of Divine Jubilation College of Health Technology and Masaka community, Nassarawa State on awareness and advocacy programme. The lecture given by WBFA Abuja Mission Leader put emphasis on the how TB is being spread, prevention and control methods. He rounded up with the message from NTBLCP that treatment of tuberculosis in Nigeria is free.
Finally, our story may remain the same this time next year if we don’t place priorities on women and children especially those in the rural community. It is my hope that all stakeholders will join efforts to put an end to TB, because ‘’Time no dey o’’. - Dr Otun Adewale, Abuja Mission Lead, Wellbeing Foundation Africa, writes in from Abuja, Nigeria.