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Gains recorded in Tuberculosis control eroded by COVID-19 – Ehanire

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The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said on Sunday the gains recorded by the country in the control of Tuberculosis had been eroded by the outbreak of COVID-19 as available domestic resources were channeled to addressing the pandemic.

Ehanire stated this during the virtual 33rd STOP TB Partnership board meeting attended by stakeholders on tuberculosis control as well as 11 Ministers of Health and dignitaries from African and beyond.

According to him, Nigerian must now device new methods of mobilizing domestic resources required to end the TB epidemic by finding missing cases and provide high-quality care and treatment for patients.

The minister said: ‘‘The African region is faced with a high number of drug-resistant TB cases. In 2019, about 83 percent of TB deaths among HIV-negative people occurred in the WHO African and South-East Asia regions. These regions accounted for 85 percent of the combined total TB deaths in HIV-negative and HIV-positive people.’’

Read also: Nigeria gets Global Fund’s $890m grant to tackle HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria

He called for a scale-up of access to Tuberculosis Preventive Therapy (TPT) and funding of innovations and researches for ending the epidemic in Africa.

Ehanire added: ‘‘We have two years more in attaining the UNHLM (United Nations High-Level Meeting) target set by all of us in 2018. However, a lot still needs to be done to change the present narrative for the continent to achieve the set target by 2022.”

The minister added that in 2019, Nigeria recorded a 13 percent increase in tuberculosis notification while 74 percent of the target for People Living with HIV (PLHIV) placed on tuberculosis preventive therapy was also achieved.

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