Lanre Oloyede/ TnTv Network
Experts in the fight and control of Tuberculosis, TB, in Nigeria have advocated for increased funding to the sector so as to enable the country upturn its heavy TB burden.
According to the experts, Tuberculosis remains a major health challenge globally claiming about 1.6 million lives yearly, while between 8-10 million new cases, amounting to one-third of world’s population are diagnosed annually.
Nigeria has the highest TB burden in Africa and ranks 6th in the world with more children under the age of 15 coming down with the disease as a result of persistent vulnerability occasioned by malnutrition.
The TB champions made the call at a pre-conference media briefing organized to sensitize Nigerians on the major thrusts of the upcoming National TB Conference slated for between 17th and 18th of July and the TB Dinner forum fixed for 14th of July, 2019 both in Lagos.
Speaking at the event, the Board Chairman, ‘Stop TB Partnership in Nigeria’, Prof. Lovett Lawson, disclosed that the upcoming conference will focus, among other things, on additional avenues available to shore up funding so as to fill the 76 percent funding gap required to successfully tackle tuberculosis.
While fielding questions from journalists, Lawson revealed that a breakdown of TB funding in Nigeria shows that government provides only 7 percent while external sources account for 17 percent of total funding leaving a wide funding gap of 76 percent amounting to over 310 million dollars.
The Lagos conference is expected to bring together on a round table key actors in TB control in Nigeria and across the globe to stimulate generation of new collaborations for home grown TB research, innovations, solutions, to create awareness and promote best practices in TB programming in Nigeria.
Similarly, the TB Dinner forum is meant to bring together top executives of corporate organizations in both financial and oil and gas sectors to apprise them of the TB situation in the country and solicit their support in terms of funding so as to enable Nigeria meet the global target of ending the scourge by 2030.