Civil society key to tackling tuberculosis

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Moses Emorinken, Abuja


AT least 75 per cent of undetected cases of deadly tuberculosis (TB) disease are found in the community.

There is, therefore, an urgent need to integrate a community-based approach to finding missing TB across the country, Board Chair of the Stop TB Nigeria, Dr. Ayodele Awe, has said.

He spoke during a virtual pre-conference of this year’s Civil Society Accountability Forum, organised in collaboration with Stop TB Partnership Nigeria.

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Its theme was: Integrating community systems and strengthening for efective HIV, TB, malaria and COVID-19 response in Nigeria.

Awe said: “Integrating community system strengthening for effectively controlling HIV, TB, malaria and COVID-19 response is very important.

“Civil society plays a prominent and important role in national development, particularly at the community level.

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“For us in TB, community level is the operational level for TB and the level for the integration of diseases.

“It is at this level that we were told in a previous survey carried out in 2012 on TB, that 75 per cent of the TB cases that we are not detecting are in the community, coughing, and we don’t know them. “We need to increase our collaborative activities to ensure that we are able to detect cases.

“We are happy that some key civil society organisations are already working at the community level, but we are hoping that there will be a more integrated civil society organisations because we are still not doing well in TB detection at the community level, particularly because of COVID-19 pandemic.”

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The Executive Director of KNCV TB Foundation Nigeria, Dr. Bethrand Odume, called for a change of strategy in tackling and tracing tuberculosis.