The Ondo State Government has called on individuals in the state to fund the fight against tuberculosis in order to save lives.
It noted that reducing the disease burden requires sustained funding, but that lately, international funding and partnership had dwindled.
Dr. Oluwafemi Aina, the Ondo State Manager for Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Control, stated this on Thursday at the 2022 Tuberculosis Day Symposium in Akure to commemorate the World Tuberculosis Day.
He urged individuals to assist the government and its partners financially to save lives.
“Regrettably, international donors spending continue to dominate funding, while domestic funding has been grossly insufficient and devoid of necessary vigour. No doubt, the catastrophic cost on patients in a low-income country like ours is damn too scary without support from the government and supporting partners.
“Much is needed now, more than ever before as the growing financial fatigue from international donors are becoming obvious. Hence, a clarion call to all indigenous organisations, corporate organisations, philanthropists, professional bodies and top government functionaries to invest in the battle against TB and save lives,” Dr. Aina said.
He explained that it had been reliably and scientifically proven that if TB patients not subjected to proper case management and treatment, they could infect an average of 10 to 15 persons annually.
Dr. Aina said Ondo State, a federating unit in the country, was not isolated from the menace and public health burden of tuberculosis.
He said, “In 2021, Ondo State with an estimated population of 4,671,700, is estimated to have a TB burden of 10,231 from the incident rate of 219 in 100,000 population.
“Remarkably and notably in the fight against TB, The state notified a total of 2,537 of TB patients in the year 2021, which represents the highest thus far in the history of the tuberculosis programme.
“This was a significant increase of 33.5 per cent in comparison to the year 2020.”
According to him, the success rate for patients subjected to treatment for the year 2021 was 86.5 per cent, a testament to the credibility and quality of service offered.
“The battle for tuberculosis is now multi-sectoral, with the engagement of both public and private facilities. A total of 117 private facilities have been trained from 2019 till date on TB diagnosis and treatment.
“This initiative has changed the narrative of private facilities contribution in the state from 3 per cent in 2018 to 51 per cent in 2021.
“The current existing structure in the state has often shown that with the necessary support, the control of TB can be effective and impressive.
“The leadership at the Ministry of Health, Ondo state, is readily available to surmount opposing barriers in control of TB,” he stated.
The Permanent Secretary, Ondo State Ministry of Health, Mrs. Folukemi Aladenola, said that the occasion was to create more awareness and educate people on the infectious disease.
Aladenola, who was represented by the director of Nursing Services in the ministry, Mrs. Alice Ogundele, said that tuberculosis, a deadly disease, could be treated, adding that its treatment was free in government health facilities across the state.
She appealed to individuals to channel their resources towards ending tuberculosis in the state as the fight against the disease was a collective responsibility.
Declaring the symposium open, Dr. Banji Ajaka, the state Commissioner for Health, said TB was the leading cause of death from single infected disease in the world.
Ajaka gave an assurance that the government would do everything possible in stemming the spread of tuberculosis in the state.
He revealed that TB diagnostic capabilities had been enhanced toward the end of 2021, with addition of three new GeneXPERT facilities to the initial eight that had been serving 18 local government areas.
He said the state government would do everything possible to sustain the collaborations between the government and all partners.
He lauded the state government for paying the state counterpart funds towards ending the disease in the state.
Mrs. Ivy Sule, the country representative of the Diamen Foundation of Belgium, one of the state’s TB partners, said the foundation is focused on the diagnosis and management of tuberculosis and leprosy in Nigeria.
Sule noted that the foundation provided relief materials to persons affected by leprosy and also encouraged their children to attend schools by providing them with necessary items.
She said that the foundation’s collaboration with the government had yielded major achievements in the tuberculosis programme.
“The foundation’s intervention in private sector engagement and in the diagnosis of tuberculosis contributed 28 per cent to the total number of active tuberculosis cases detected in the state in 2020 and 45 per cent success in 2021,” Sule added.