Nigerian Leaders Call for Accountability and Increased Capacity to Meet 2030 End TB Goals
The WHO 2021 Global TB report estimates that Nigeria remains the country with the highest TB burden in Africa, and sixth-highest TB burden globally. This statistic accounts for the country being one of the top priorities of the Global TB Caucus.
Since the launch of the Nigeria Parliamentary TB in 2018, with support from Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, members of parliament (MPs) have worked tirelessly to raise the political urgency of TB in the country; through several parliamentary actions in line with the mandate of the AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Control Committee of the House of Representatives, as well as leveraging on key National and Global events to bring much-needed attention to Tuberculosis in the country. World TB Day 2022 also presented another opportunity for Nigerian members MPs and stakeholders to review the TB situation in the country: evaluating and reassessing the country’s position in order to meet the UN High Level Meeting (UNHLM) targets of ending TB by 2030.
On the 15th of March 2022, the Chairman of the Nigeria TB Caucus, Honourable Abubakar Dahiru Sarki, alongside other Honourable members of the House Committee on AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (ATM) Control of the National Assembly of Nigeria, hosted an advocacy meeting between Stop TB Partnership Nigeria and MPs; following up on the mandate given by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, after a parliamentary debate sponsored by Honourable Benjamin Okezie Kalu on the urgent need to address the public health crisis of Tuberculosis in Nigeria.
This meeting focused on the TB situation in Nigeria, its financing gap, National TB legislation, and future plans for the rest of the year around the theme of the 2022 World TB Day “Invest to End TB, Save Lives”. During the meeting, parliamentarians and stakeholders shared insights on the necessary and immediate actions to be taken in order to accelerate efforts to achieve the UNHLM targets.
One of its major outcomes is a resolution by MPs and stakeholders to begin processing the appropriate legislation and policies to improve TB control in Nigeria. Parliamentarians also called on partners to invest in MP capacity building around key priorities in TB, while advocating for a more people-centred and impact-driven approach to TB care and service delivery at the grassroots level. This is in order to ensure that the funds allocated produce meaningful results.
The meeting was attended by eminent figures in Nigeria’s fight against TB: present were members of the AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Control committee of the House of Representatives (Hon. Abubakar Dahiru Sarki, Hon. Abubakar Umaru Yabo, Hon. Adewunmi Onanuga, Hon. Ahmed A. Ndakene, Hon. Abdullahi Sa’ad Abdulkadir, Hon. Hassan Usman Sokodabo, Hon. Aminu Ashiru Mani, Hon. Abubakar Nakarba, Hon. Gboluga Dele Ikegboju, and Hon. Kokani Bala) the Director and National Coordinator of the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Program of the Federal Ministry of Health (Dr. Chukwuma Anyaike), representatives of Stop TB Partnership Nigeria (Dr. Queen Ogboji, Dr. Bertrand Odume, Mr. Mayowa Joel, and Oprah Nnaji). The meeting was also supported by the Francophone and West Africa Regional Manager of the Global TB Caucus (Deborah Ogwuche-Ikeh).
Another crucial engagement of the Nigeria National Caucus is their collaboration with TB Stakeholders in the pre-World TB Day 2022 press briefing. It was conducted by Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, alongside the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Program. During the briefing, MP and member of the Global TB Caucus, Hon. Dahiru Sarki, addressed the press on the role and efforts of parliamentarians in raising the political profile of TB in Nigeria. In his speech, he recounted the UNHLM commitments and the effort that Nigerian MPs are presently undertaking in the fight against TB with respect to funding and legislation, which includes a bill to make the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Program an independent agency.
Also of note is the high level of political will and accountability towards ending TB in Nigeria demonstrated by the Honourable Minister of Health of Nigeria (Dr. Osagie Ehanire) during the World TB Day 2022 ministerial press briefing, organised by the Federal Ministry of Health of Nigeria, in collaboration with other relevant stakeholders and in-country partners like USAID, and the WHO country office.
In his speech, he highlighted the gaps and barriers to achieving the set targets of ending TB in Nigeria, while listing some key successes the country has recorded with the support of its partners. The Minister also informed the general public of the efforts of the Government of Nigeria to respond to the challenges present in its TB response; in line with the commitment made by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari to END TB at the first-ever United Nations High-level Meeting (UNHLM) on TB, held September 2018 in New York, USA.
Some of the efforts and success recorded so far, according to his speech, include (but are not limited to):
The development and current implementation of a road map for translating commitments into action: this is gradually yielding the desired results as the country was able to achieve 48% of its UNHLM TB case finding target for 2021.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria was commended for being among the few countries with increased TB notification (rather than a drop) in 2020.
Engagement of the ministry with community based organisations as well as its public-private partnership model to end TB: This has significantly helped in identifying new cases; recording over 1 million persons successfully treated from 2011 to date, and the annual TB case notification has steadily increased from over 100,000 in 2016 to more than 207,000 in 2021, (the highest ever notification rate) which is also a 45% increase from the 2020 notification.
Collaboration with the HIV program has also reduced HIV-related TB cases.
As a global network of parliamentarians working collectively across borders and party lines towards ending the TB epidemic, we maintain that political will, high level commitment, persistence, resilience, and building a solid foundation upon meaningful collaboration is a sure path to ending TB. This makes these giant strides and consistent push by Nigerian MPs and stakeholders worthy of commendation. They are rightly an example for others to follow in the global fight against TB.
Photo credits to the United States Geological Survey