In commemoration of the World Tuberculosis Day, the Spokesperson of the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Kalu moved a motion on the need for urgent intervention in the Public Health Crises of Tuberculosis in Nigeria.
The Spokesperson made this call at the Plenary in Abuja on March 24, 2021.
According to him, Tuberculosis has become one of the top 10 causes of death and the leading cause of a single infectious agent above HIV/AIDS, by the records of the WHO, an estimated 10 million people fell ill with Tuberculosis across the world with 1.4 million people dying as a result of the sickness in 2019. He highlighted that in Nigeria, a total of 127,000 people died from TB in the same year.
“The multidrug-resistant TB (MDR–TB) is a public health crisis and threat as a total of 21,000 people with Multidrug and Rifampicin-Resistant TB (MDR/RR–TB) was diagnosed in 2019.
“Out of the 440,000 TB cases, only 120,300 were registered, leaving 319 700 undiagnosed and untreated cases which could result in the spread of the disease in Nigeria”
He mentioned that as a result of underfunding, most health facilities do not have any form of services rendered. In his words
“As a result of the underfunding of TB in Nigeria, a large number of health facilities do not currently have any form of TB services being rendered.
“Although TB is a preventable, treatable and curable disease, people living with TB in Nigeria often have to endure stigma and discrimination and mindful that ending the TB epidemic by 2030 is one of the health targets of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, of which Nigeria is a signatory,”
He urged the Federal Ministry of Health and other relevant Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, MDGs, to ensure effective and efficient implementation of tuberculosis-related policies.
He also called for improvement in government funding and ensuring the inclusion of TB in the minimum primary health care service package and other priority interventions in the health sector.
The motion mandated that the Committees on HIV, Aids, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Control, Healthcare Services, and Health Institutions should interface with stakeholders, relevant professionals, and the public on the matter.
He urged the committee to determine the appropriate legislative intervention required for improved TB control and to mitigate the impact of COVID–19 on tuberculosis, especially the MDR–TB.
The motion directed the committees to effectively address stigma and all forms of discrimination against people living with TB.
The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila mandated the committee to report back to the House in 6 weeks for further legislative action.