The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has said tuberculosis is a treatable and curable disease and urged all the states of the federation to adopt tertiary institutions approach in solving the problem of tuberculosis in the country.
Adewole made this known in Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital, while launching tuberculosis mobile truck tagged “WELLNESS ON WHEELS”, noting that TB requires an intentional effort by the health care system to increase the detection of TB in a given population.
He said Active Case Finding (ACF) for TB could reduce the number of subsequent TB infections and prevent secondary cases, saying it has become very clear that in order to significantly control TB in Nigeria, “active case finding” strategies have to be undertaken.
Adewole noted that it was for this reason that the Federal government through the Ministry of Health had declared 2017, as the year of “Accelerating TB Case Finding and Treatment” in Nigeria. He added that it was in line with this, that the CTB Nigerian team are employing all efforts to not only increase TB case notifications, but to also make sure all TB patients were promptly put on treatment.
He said that the mobile TB truck diagnostic unit would improve access to TB services by bringing TB screening and diagnosis to the door steps of clients as a one-stop shop, noted that the 20 feet lead container was equipped with an X-ray machine and two GeneXpert machine.
He said it was first of its kind in Nigeria as the second phase of mobile diagnostic truck would begin it’s campaign in Nasarawa state in a couple of weeks, adding that it would also improve the health seeking behaviour of the people through the health messages provided in the course of the campaigns.
In the same vein, the State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun said the procurement of the TB mobile truck would ensure early diagnosis and treatment of TB and contribute to halting the transmission of TB in the communities.
He said TB remains a main cause of morbidity and mortality in Nigeria at epidemic proportion, noting that Nigeria is classified as a high TB TB/HIV and multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) burden country.
Amosun appreciated the Federal government and USAID for the initiative, noting that it would add more value for the campaign against TB cases in the country as it was first of its kind in the nation and the State was first to be benefited in the innovative.
In his welcome address, the Hon. Commissioner for Health, Dr. Babatunde Ipaye, said ‘WOW’ project “Wellness on Wheels” was a welcome and good innovative approach in eliminating TB disease in the country through support of the KNCV challenge TB project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development – USAID.
According to him, “It is a mobile truck that is designed to offer free TB testing services in our communities, it is equipped with a digital X-ray facility operated with 2 mins per person, and also has two GeneXpert machines for rapid sputum tests for suspected TB cases”.
Ipaye noted that Nigeria has the highest number of TB cases in Africa and the fourth highest in the world, with 11% of these cases estimated to be among children, emphasising that approximately 600,000 TB cases annually recorded, with only 100,434 detected in Nigeria at the end of 2016, which about 83% missed and undetected.
He said the state was a pioneer state to be benefited from this innovative strategy, saying that it was hoped that this project would contribute immensely towards detecting the missing TB cases in the state, as well as overcome the barriers to accessing TB care services.