The National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme on Thursday called on state governments to set up tuberculosis treatment centres across the country for maximum coverage.
A Senior Medical Officer of the programme, Dr Emperor Ubochioma, , made the call during the ongoing review meeting organised by the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria and the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme in Lagos.
“Most states in the country do not have a Tuberculosis (TB) treatment centre, which has hindered effective care delivery for patients in those states.
“We are encouraging the state governments to support and develop a treatment centre so that patients won’t have to travel from one state to another in order to access quality treatment.
“This will also enable them to be around their families, which we know contributes a lot to their recovery process.
“It will also enable us to have maximum coverage because it will encourage patients to access treatment adequately and also as and when due,’’ he said.
Ubochioma also identified limited funding as one of the challenges facing the management of tuberculosis in Nigeria.
“The major challenges we keep noticing is that there is limited funding to support the extent the country can go in trying to ensure that these patients are properly taking care of.
“Most of our funding, apart from the few from Federal Government, is actually from the donor agencies and they take more than 40 to 60 per cent of the entire funding.
“Then, we have a gap of almost 30 per cent of TB service provision; this is a huge gap which needs to be urgently covered and we expect that through domestic finding, we will be able to cover that,’’ he said.
The programme senior medical officer also called for adequate publicity that would inform the public on when they need to report cases of severe cough that have lasted for two weeks or more.
“TB is no longer a killer diseases, however, it is still killing people because they are not reporting adequately.
“So, we are not finding the total number of cases in Nigeria; as at now, we are finding less than 30 per cent of the total drug resistance TB cases in Nigeria.
“We are estimated to have almost 20, 000 patients per year; however, each year we have between 2,000 and 3, 000 cases which is a very huge gap from what we are supposed to get.
“Also, most of the people identified, we are also not able to put every one of them on treatment, some of them are still in the society transmitting more of this infection.
“This is why it is important that people are encouraged to come out, and when they are diagnosed, they should also take the treatment so that they are certified cured,’’ Ubochioma said.
The official said that the review meeting was aimed at identifying key challenges, how to proffer solutions and also to take it to the next level.
“This is our annual review meeting for the Southern part of Nigeria to review our implementation on drug resistance tuberculosis which is the resistant part of TB in Nigeria.
“We expect at the end of this year’s review to have identified key challenges on drug resistance tuberculosis and also to proffer solutions that will tackle the menace of tuberculosis to the barest minimum,’’ he said.