Nigeria is expected to get a three-year grant worth 140 million U.S dollars (N50.75billion ) to tackle Tuberculosis (TB) in the country.
Dr Emperor Ubochioma, Programme Management Unit Team Lead for Global Fund TB Grant, National TB and Leprosy Programme, disclosed this in an interview with the Newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja.
Ubochioma said the grant, to run from 2021 to 2023, was to complement the effort of the Federal Government in the fight against TB.
TB programme will take 16 per cent out of the 890 million dollars (N322.63 billion) from Global Fund coming to Nigeria to reduce the burden of three diseases, HIV, TB and Malaria, from 2021 to 2023.
The official said Nigeria was 6th globally and first in Africa in term of the disease burden, saying “ it is estimated that 400,000 TB cases are to be detected annually in Nigeria.
“With increase population, this number is also increasing. However, we are detecting less than 25 per cent of them and those gaps are still in the community transmitting the disease.
“ Our step to address this is to make sure that TB services are free in the public sector and also to support private sector to actually provide the services that are adequate.
“We support the private sector and give them appropriate drugs for it by making sure that TB treatment and services are accessible in the nearest community.’’
Ubochioma told Newsmen that the office would also focus on creating awareness to pass the right information to the populace on the disease.
“The good thing we are doing is to expand our prevention mechanism for TB in Nigeria and increase diagnostic capacity to be able to diagnose resistance part of TB.
“TB diagnose resistance TB is also drug resistance TB; addressing this is very key in our programme success,’’ he said.
According to him, the grant will also be used to procure drugs for patients and facilitate easy access to TB treatment and diagnosis.
The official, however, advised people living with Tuberculosis to go to nearest TB centre to access the services, which are provided free.
He said any patient on treatment, would within two weeks be able to be free from infecting others.
Ubochioma therefore advised people living with TB to go to nearest public hospital and receive the free treatment.