In Nasarawa Stakeholders Call For Sustained Partnership To End Tuberculosis

Stakeholders have called for the partnership that has led to the recent successes in the fight against tuberculosis in Nasarawa State to be sustained. This, they said, is the sure path to the eventual elimination of the disease in the State and in Nigeria as a whole.

The stakeholders who spoke during the celebration of the 2022 World TB Day in Nasarawa which held on Thursday March 24, include the Nasarawa State Government represented by officials from the State Ministry of Health and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) including Breakthrough Action Nigeria (BA-N), Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria (IHVN), Development Governance International (DGI) Consult and KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation.

In his remarks, the Nasarawa State Commissioner for Health who was represented by Dr. Ibrahim Alhassan, the Director of Public Health at the State Ministry of Health took time to appreciate each of the NGOs whom he described as partners.

Dr Ibrahim Alhassan, Director of Public Health, Nasarawa State Ministry of Health

He said: “TB care has never had it this good. We have moved from single partner support to multiple partner support. And with that we can form synergy. We can lean on each other and do the needful.

“I will like to appreciate KNCV for doing a very great job in the TB space. KNCV has also – apart from the routine regular treatment and care – they brought us two innovations, first being the wellness-on-wheel, a motorized vehicle that can diagnose TB on-the-go. Besides that, they have also supported the State with a mobile x-ray machine. So KNCV, the people of Nasarawa State say a big thank you.

“For IHVN I don’t even know where to start appreciating them because initially they were supporting us in the HIV space. But like you all know, TB follows HIV like a shadow. So if you are providing HIV care and you are neglecting TB then you will know that you may be pouring water into a leaking bucket. And that is why they re-invented themselves and have been supporting the State richly in the TB space. And we are here courtesy of the huge support you have been giving to us.

“For Breakthrough Action Nigeria, their support for the State is in the realm of behaviour change. And I hope you all know that the most difficult change to make is human behaviour? A lot of us here know what positive behaviours we should imbibe and we know what not to do. But how many of us adhere to those practices? And so Breakthrough Action is here to help us increase awareness among the general population because one person with TB that is undetected, is a risk to all of us seated here.”

Dr Dan Egbule, KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation

He also appreciated the DGI who according him have been helping in the area of resource mobilization so the State Government will have resources to continue even after resources from partners may have stopped coming in.

Also speaking, the Nasarawa State Coordinator of Breakthrough Action Nigeria (BA-N), Mr Thomas Ohobu lamented that TB which is preventable, treatable and curable was still killing people.

He appealed to the general public to take advantage of the diagnosis and treatment that has been made available for free in many locations across the State, so that the disease can be eliminated.

In his remarks, Dr. Dan Egbule of the KNCV TB Foundation appreciated the efforts of the stakeholders towards the elimination of tuberculosis and assured that his organization will continue to play their part until the goal is achieved.

On his part, Dr Yakubu Sambo, the State Manager of IHVN said that the celebration of world TB day was very important because it provided an avenue for discussion on the disease especially in Africa that has the highest burden in the world.

Mr Thomas Ohobu (Right) conducting an interactive session with two survivors of TB

He called on all stakeholders to continue to invest resources including money, human resources and every other thing necessary to see that tuberculosis meets its end.

The activities to mark the world TB day started with a road walk from the premises of the Nasarawa State Ministry of Health and terminated at the premises of the Nasarawa State Primary Health Care Development Agency where a brief programme held.

Apart from remarks by various stakeholders during the programme, there was also an interactive session with two survivors of tuberculosis by name Shehu Abubakar and Patience Daniel, both residents of Lafia. They both narrated their horrific experience with TB and appreciated the organizations that made treatment available for them free of charge.

The roadwalk

They encouraged members of the public to be conscious of their health and go for proper tests especially if they have had persistent cough for more than two weeks as tuberculosis is treatable if diagnosed.

The world TB day celebration also provided an opportunity for Dr Aboki Danjuma Maku, the erstwhile Nasarawa State TB and Leprosy Control Programme Officer to announce his retirement from civil service and present Dr Simon Ovye Dogara who is taking up the mantle.

He thanked all those who worked with him during his years of service especially as the State TB and Leprosy Control Programme Officer and appealed that even more cooperation should be given to his replacement so that the fight against tuberculosis will be won.

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