By Lanre Oloyede
Experts on TB control have called on health authorities to increase and sustain actions and responses aimed at subduing the scourge amidst the global attention accorded the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Coronavirus disease has, since inception, diverted attention from other major health challenges such as TB and HIV/AIDS, a development experts decried, insisting if TB is not accorded the right attention, the country might experience a spike in number of cases as well as casualties.
This was the focus of their deliberation as the experts gathered in Abuja at the 2021 Pre-World TB Day press conference organized by Stop TB Partnership Nigeria to mark this year’s World TB Day.
With the theme:”The Clock is Clicking’, experts at the conference stressed on the need for more public enlightenment on TB testing and treatment in order to help fight the scourge in the country.
Board Vice Chair of Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, Dr Queen Ogbuji, who delivered the keynote address noted that more than ever before, the drive was to support the UN target of ensuring that there is an end to TB by the end of 2022 which is why the call is targeted at all stakeholders to come together to fight the scourge or risk loosing lives to the chronic disease.
Dr. Ogbuji explained why this year’s event is significant, insisting that it provides the opportunity to discuss on the challenges of TB and the need for more public awareness as well as media engagements for proper dissemination of information about what TB is all about and the need to have people know more about it.
Speaking on the role of civil society at curtailing the scourge of TB, National Coordinator, Civil Society for the Eradication in Nigeria,Olayide Akanni , maintained that the role of civil societies cannot be over emphasised as they have enormous role to play in the fight against TB in the society.
Akanni called for more robust engagement among the media in taking the message to the community and grassroots level where the scourge is prevalent.
She said this year’s celebration will sieze the opportunity to reach out more as a lot of people are still dying in ignorance for lack of proper information about TB testing and treatment hence more than ever,there is need for more sensitization meetings, advocacy talks, public awareness, religious and community leaders engagements,among others, so as to meet the desired quest to have a society free of the deadly disease.
World TB Day is marked every March 24th to increase awareness as well as mobilize for support in tackling the deadly disease which claims millions of lives every year.
According to reports, Nigeria ranks 10th position in the world as TB high burden nations, hence the need for government at all levels to focus attention on the disease by putting every available resources on the line to tackle the scourge just as it is done for Covid 19 so as to have a country free of TB.