WHO, Partners Urge Increased Funding to Combat Tuberculosis in Nigeria

By Milcah Tanimu

March 19, 2024

Leading health organizations including the World Health Organization (WHO) and KNCV Nigeria have called upon governments at various levels to enhance their investments in tuberculosis (TB) control efforts to meet Nigeria’s ambitious target of eradicating the disease by 2030.

This appeal was made during a press briefing held in Abuja ahead of the 2024 World Tuberculosis Day, highlighting the critical need for heightened awareness and resources, particularly in rural areas, to effectively combat the persistent threat of TB.

TB, caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, predominantly affects the lungs and stands as the primary infectious killer worldwide, ranking among the top 10 causes of global mortality. The disease spreads through airborne transmission.

Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa, ranks sixth globally among 30 countries burdened with TB, with the highest number of undetected cases on the continent.

World Tuberculosis Day, observed annually on March 24, serves to raise awareness about the impact of TB. The theme for the 2024 observance is “Yes, we can end TB,” with Nigeria’s rallying cry being “No gree for TB, check am o.”

Dr. Amos Omoniyi, representing the WHO, underscored the alarming global toll of TB, with millions of deaths recorded annually. In Africa alone, approximately 2.4 million TB cases were reported in 2022, with Nigeria contributing 479,000 cases, constituting 19 percent of the total.

Despite Nigeria’s substantial burden of the disease, Dr. Omoniyi lamented a 70 percent funding gap in TB initiatives, emphasizing that TB, a curable and preventable disease, can be eradicated through increased governmental investments.

Dr. Bethrand Odume, Executive Director of KNCV TB Foundation Nigeria, emphasized the urgency conveyed by this year’s theme, stressing the need for collective action to achieve the 2030 target of ending TB. He highlighted the progress made in TB diagnosis tools, treatment, and preventive regimens, along with promising vaccines in clinical trials.

Dr. Odume urged sustained efforts to accelerate TB control measures, including enhanced case detection and advocacy for increased funding from both governmental and private sectors. He noted KNCV’s collaboration with national and state TB programs to bolster TB case detection in Nigeria through initiatives like the USAID-supported TB Local Organization Network project.

The call to action is clear: it is imperative to redouble efforts and resources to curb TB’s devastating impact, safeguarding the health and well-being of communities across Nigeria and beyond.


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