Tuberculosis: a health expert recommends better mobilization of national resources to face the threat: TV360 Nigeria
Health experts have called for a premium to be given to tuberculosis in the context of universal health coverage (UHC) to achieve the health gains the federal government anxiously desires.
In their view, this decision would ultimately result in increased success rates for TB treatment and responsive TB treatment facilities as well as financial protection against the hardships resulting from TB treatment.
Stop TB Partnership board member Dr Emeka Ogbuabor said during a speech at 4e Annual legislative health summit in Abuja.
Dr Ogbuabor noted that integrating TB into the health insurance system at different levels of government would improve resource mobilization to tackle the threat, while advocating for an increase in domestic funding which is at a meager level. 7 percent and international funding at 23 percent of the 30 percent used for TB in 2019.
“Globally, tuberculosis is the leading cause of death among the 10 leading causes of death, and an estimated 1.9 billion people worldwide are infected with tuberculosis. Each year, about 10 million people develop tuberculosis, including one million children and more than 800,000 people living with HIV / AIDS. Almost 500,000 people develop the variant of tuberculosis called multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (M-DRTB), and unfortunately only one in three people receive treatment.
“Nigeria ranks 6th among the 30 high burden countries in the world and first in Africa for tuberculosis. We are contributing about 11 percent of the global gap in the number of new TB cases, and after an estimated 440,000 TB cases in Nigeria, we are only able to report 27 percent. So where are more than 70 percent of tuberculosis cases?
“An estimated 18 people die every hour from tuberculosis-related illnesses, which means 432 people die from tuberculosis every day in Nigeria. Yet we have a funding gap of about 70 percent. Of the 30% of funds we used in 2019, 23% were development assistance funds; only 7 percent were national mobilizers.
He explained that to ensure better TB outcomes, it is necessary to increase coverage, improve access and uptake, and then improve the quality of TB care.
“One of the main challenges today in mobilizing national resources to fight tuberculosis is how to integrate tuberculosis into health insurance schemes. Many states have not done their actuarial analysis and cannot say how much more it would cost on their premium to support this process.
“How do we get the different state legislatures to include this in their agendas and interact with their different state governments to get the funds to do an actuarial study to find out how much it will cost, and use it as a an advocacy tool to lobby for equity to be released and to close the funding gap.
“If you look at the local government system, you will see that very few areas of local government have invested in TB. Few states have invested their money in tuberculosis. We don’t just need to budget for TB, but the actual versions. “
Nigeria remains one of the 30 countries in the world with the highest burden of tuberculosis. It ranks first in Africa with the number of undetected cases.
Although tuberculosis is a vaccine-preventable and also curable disease, WHO statistics show that each year about 245,000 Nigerians die from tuberculosis and around 590,000 new cases occur.
Data released by the ‘Stop TB Partnership’ in March indicates a drastic drop in global treatment and diagnosis of tuberculosis cases seen in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has infected millions of people around the world.