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Expert Calls for Increased Funding for Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis

By Regina Onyegbula
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The Associate Director Global Fund Programs, Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN), Dr. Aderonke Agbaje, has called on the government to support the drug-resistant tuberculosis program in the country with funds as donor funding for the disease has reduced significantly.

Dr. Agbaje, who made this call in Abuja at a meeting of over 40 Medical Directors, Finance and Management staff of hospitals offering drug-resistant TB services in the country, said that government at all levels should look inwards to utilize local resources to care for drugs resistant tuberculosis patients.

She urged hospital management to see the DR-TB program as their responsibility.

“They should take ownership, and going forward over the next one or two years, we expect them to start having a budget line for DR-TB activities. We expect them to start leveraging on existing resources within their facilities,” she said.

The one day meeting organized by IHVN was an avenue to share best practices and challenges identified within the year and strategize for better services to patients in the coming year.

Also at the meeting, the Senior Medical Officer with the National Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Control Programme, Dr. Babawale Victor, stressed the need for hospital management to properly maintain wards and equipment donated by the Global Fund to Fight HIV, TB, and Malaria for the benefit of the patients.

“We expect that they should take adequate ownership and effectively and efficiently use the resources given to them to yield a very good result and outcome for patients that will be put on treatment.”

Dr. Idowu Joseph, who attended the meeting from State Hospital Iwo, stated that the event educated management staff on the details of the DR-TB program to enhance their supervisory role.

“It has opened the eyes of the Chief Executives to devote more time to the centers,” he said.

World Health Organization figures for 2016 show that an estimated 5,200 cases of drug-resistant tuberculosis exist in Nigeria.Out of this, only 1,251 patients have commenced treatment.

According to him, hospitals that are currently treating the disease are:

-The National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Training Center in Zaria.

-University College Hospital in Ibadan.

-Jos University Teaching Hospital in Jos.

- Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital in Bauchi,

-University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital in Rivers State

- And 17 other facilities spread across the country.