Nigeria has the highest number of tuberculosis infection within the African region and among the top ten countries globally. This was disclosed by a representative of World Health Organization (WHO) in Africa Tereza Kasaeva when she led a delegation to the president of the Nigerian Senate in Abuja
She said the infectious disease causes over 1.5 million global deaths annually. “Just a few facts for your attention about tuberculosis globally: it is an old disease but still number one infectious disease killer in the world” Kasaeva said.
She called on the Nigerian government to make additional investments in primary healthcare services through urgent interventions by the National Assembly.
Kasaeva said such additional investments in tuberculosis and non-communicable diseases will be needed from the domestic source. “We quite clearly understand the challenges in the country, the budget will never be enough for the health sector and it’s always some sort of struggle” she added.
She said the WHO will continue to use all its additional advocacy to attract resources and provide all the needed technical support for the most populous African country while trying to achieve the target of ending tuberculosis by 2030.
In a statement issued by his Special Assistant to the Senate President Ezrel Tabiowo, the Senate President Ahmed Lawan in his remarks said the National Assembly has been supporting investments in the nation’s health sector.
He decried that paucity of funds poses a major threat in the fight against the disease.
“If we are number one in the African subregion and ranked ten in the world, it is not an enviable statistic.
“We are also constrained by the paucity of funds, we wish we could have more funds, and while we are trying to do our best, the United Nations and other bodies such as the World Health Organization should try to support our country,” he stated.
The Senate President also emphasised on the need to educate Nigerians on the dangers of both communicable and non-communicable diseases.