By Laide Akinboade, Abuja
The First Lady of Nigeria, Mrs Aisha Buhari, has raised the alarm over the rising figure of undetected cases of tuberculosis in Nigeria, which has been estimated at 25 per cent.
Buhari, a Global TB champion and Ambassador, who made this known at the 2nd National Tuberculosis Conference with the theme ‘Building Stronger Partnerships to End TB in Nigeria,’ in Abuja, said over 170,000 Nigerians die annually from TB, the number one infectious disease killer in the world, a disease which she lamented was preventable and curable.
Nigeria currently has the highest number of tuberculosis cases in Africa and the sixth highest in the world.
Mrs Buhari also disclosed that out of an approximated 600,000 persons infected with TB every year, about 60,000 children were affected.
Represented by her Chief of Staff, Dr. Hajo Sani, she promised to use her office to bridge the gap of TB funding in the country, engage wives of the 36 Governors in the country and form an alliance with the wives of African Presidents to accelerate efforts to end Tuberculosis not only in Nigeria, but in the African continent.
“With the emergence of drug resistant TB, it is also not acceptable that Nigeria is still having one of the lowest TB case detection rates in the world as it is only detecting about only 25% of TB cases and with over 170,000 Nigerians dying annually from preventable and curable disease. This is not an enviable position and situation for any country and it must change.
“I call on all stakeholders, including elected and appointed officials, development partners, civil societies, academia, media religious and traditional institutions to work more together to end TB in Nigeria. It is only through effective coordination that we can all work together to end TB in Nigeria,” she said.
The Executive Director, Stop TB Partnership Geneva, Dr. Lucica Ditiu, said everyone in Nigeria needs to know about the huge Tuberculosis problem in the country, as everyone who is still breathing is at risk of contacting the disease.
While expressing concern over the large number of TB cases with about 70 per cent undiagnosed and untreated, she stressed that unless it was urgently addressed, the numbers of TB infections and deaths in Nigeria would keep increasing.
Ditiu who noted that many countries and international organisations have concluded that Nigeria cannot win the war against TB, said with an all inclusive partnership with all and sundry, she was hopeful TB would be eliminated from Nigeria.
“Nigeria has a lot of potentials, the fact that internationally there are comments that it cannot contain TB in Nigeria, it is very hurtful and for me that is a very passionate fighter for the good image of Nigeria globally, I want to prove everybody wrong and I will show that in Nigeria things can be changed.
“Doctors and nurses alone cannot deal with Tuberculosis, we need partnership with the NGOs, faith based organisations, religious leaders, traditional leaders, the private sector together with the public health programme, international donors, and international technical partners, people affected by Tuberculosis, civil societies and communities.
“Everybody has something to being to the table. The problem with TB is that we are not ready to work together. It should not be about who leads what, it should be about coming together to fight this disease and without engaging everybody wrong at the table, we will not go anywhere,” she said
Earlier, the Chair, Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, Prof. Lovett Lawson, noted that Nigeria has made some incremental progress in the quality of Tuberculosis treatment and care over the years.
He however lamented that the treatment coverage which has remained at a low rate of 25 percent with a stagnant case notification in the last five years, stressed that the trend could only be reversed through an extensive partnership which would help in creating more awareness and addressing the TB funding gap in the country.
Free Medical Outreach in Nasarawa
Tatara community in Panda Development area has praised the executive chairman of Karu Local government area, James Thomas, for the free medical outreach in the area.
They stated this during the flagging off of free medical treatment held at the primary health care center, Tatara, Wednesday.
The free medical outreach was sponsored by Karu Local government Chairman, James Thomas, in conjunction with the association of Hospital and administrative Pharmaceutical of Nigeria, the association of community pharmacists of Nigeria, and the senior special assistant to Governor Abdullahi Sule on primary healthcare, respectively, where the patients were treated from different ailments.
Speaking to NBC news, some of the beneficiaries, Mr. Banshe Wayo and Mrs. Rejoice Zaka, appreciated the effort of the Karu Local government Chairman in fulfilling his campaign promises by alleviating their health challenges and urged other politicians to emulate him.
While flagging off the free medical outreach, the sponsor who is the chairman, of the Karu Local government area, James Bawa Thomas, said the medical outreach was to fulfill the giant strides of Governor Abdullahi Sule toward providing health services to the people of the state and promised to continue serving the people of Karu as expected.
Earlier, the senior special assistant to Governor Abdullahi Sule on Primary health care, Princess Margaret Elayo, said health is one of the major challenges rural communities are faced with, and commended the chairman of the council for the initiative, stressing that there are drugs available to give the patients after examination by doctors.
There, the head of the medical outreach, Pharmacist Luka Augustine, and Doctor Aleke Nnaemeka, disclosed that the free medical outreach was part of their social responsibility to the communities in addressing their health challenges, stating that the patients will be treated for different diseases and will give the prescribed drugs.
Also speaking, the supervisory councilor for health Karu Local government area, Hamza Sani, the director of Primary healthcare, Haruna Elayo Kuje, and the councilor, representing Tattara Kondora electoral ward, Ombuganza Ezekiel, assured the Tattara community of their selfless service in meeting up to their health-related challenges and sued for their support to enable them to succeed.
Kogi: NDLEA Seizes 1,699kg Assorted Drugs within Six Months
From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
The Kogi National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Command has arrested 149 suspects with a total of 2, 699kg of assorted hard drugs between January and June in the State.
The Kogi NDLEA Commander, Mr Abdulkadir Abdullahi Fakai, made the disclosure during a Press briefing yesterday in Lokoja to mark the beginning of a weeklong activities in celebration of the 2022 United Nations Day Against drug Abuse and trafficking.
Fakai said that the theme “Addressing Drug Challenges in Health and Humanitarian Crisis” was carefully chosen to mark the 2022 UN Day of fight against drug abuse.
The Commander said that 149 drug suspects made up of both males and females were arrested with the 2,699kg assorted drugs within the period under review include codeine, Methamphetamine, Exol-5, Diazepam, tramadol, Cannabis sativa, Pentazocine amongst others.
The NDLEA boss said that the Agency recorded the highest seizure of 948.956kg in April followed by 307.815kg in May while the list of 59.973 kg was recorded within June
He said that already the command has tried and convicted 29 accused persons while other cases are still pending at the Federal High Court, Lokoja.
“The drug situation in Nigeria and indeed Kogi is disturbing, especially being a microcosm of Nigeria, and as a federating unit, Kogi cannot stand alone in the face of this ominous threat of drug abuse and trafficking.
“The implication on security, economic and the general wellbeing is dire. Statistics and empirical facts from National Drug Law Enforcement Agency operations indicate clearly that drug problem is mutating into a colossal social problem.
“It has become an issue linked beyond doubt to escalation of insecurity and its attendant effects on peace and economy across the country,” he said.
He said that the debilitating effects of armed robbery, kidnapping, banditry, rape and other violent crimes against humanity were contesting for the soul of our nation.
“We know that drugs are mostly the catalyst for these vices, because anywhere that there is drug, there is crime and vice versa,” he said.
He said that explains why the command has engaged in various operations, sensitization, courtesy/advocacy visits to Gov Yahaya Bello, Kogi, Secretary to State Government, traditional rulers and the State security chiefs including the Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Army.
“In the area of drug abuse and preventive education (DAPE), 25 schools and organizations where sensitized from January to date while 84 clients referred from investigation units were counseled within the period.
“Drug war is a onerous task that cannot be left in the hands of the agency alone,”.
He enumerated some successes recorded within the period to include arrest/seizure of a J5 bus, intercepted along Okene/Lokoja-Abuja expressway conveying 750kg of dried weeds (Indian Hemp), interception of 29 pieces of sewn military camouflage uniforms in a truck and arrest of a jail breaker.
Fakai, however, called on the general public for cooperation, support and provision of useful information to the agency whenever they see or hear something strange
He said that all hands must be on deck as the Agency cannot do it alone, but the government at all levels, traditional institutions, Religious and opinion Leaders, NGOs must give a helping hand to ensure a drug free Kogi and Nigeria as a whole.
Niger Launches COVID-19 Recovery Programme, Disburses Funds to Communities, Groups
From Dan Amasingha, Minna
The Niger State Government has launched COVID-19 Action Recovery, Economic Stimulus Programme, and disbursed over N60 million to beneficiaries.
Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, disclosed this while launching the commencement of NIGER – CARES and distribution of cheques to benefitting communities and groups organized by the Niger State Community and Social Development Agency (CSDA) held at Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre, Minna.
Matane explained that the Nigeria CARES Project is an intervention programme aimed at mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the poor and vulnerable households.
According to the SSG, the disbursement of funds to groups is a poverty reduction strategy as well as support to micro and small-scale enterprises as a means of stimulating the economic growth in a post-COVID-19 era thereby bringing people out of poverty.
He noted that due to the leadership and political will provided by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, Niger State was ahead of many States in this endeavour and expressed optimism that implementation of the programme would improve the living standards of communities to get back on their feet.
The SSG urged the benefitting communities and groups to utilize the funds for the purpose it was meant for and not to allow any form of hijack by anybody.
Earlier in his remarks, the Honourable Commissioner, Niger State Planning Commission, Alhaji Zakari Abubakar encouraged the people of the State to take advantage of the opportunities provided by NIGER-CARES to enhance their means of livelihood and reduce the spate of poverty in their communities.
The General Manager, Niger State Community and Social Development Agency (CSDA), Yusuf Ahmed Usman announced that the State Government has released the sum of N248, 854, 184 to the Agency for the provision of social basic infrastructures to communities and groups in all the 25 Local Governments Areas in the State.
Ahmed Usman said that Communities and groups that would benefit from the disbursement include the Aghumai Bari group, Paikoro LGA, Soje B, Chanchaga LGA, Talwood community, Wushishi, Chingini Enazan, Edati LGA and Association of the blind, Kontagora LGA.
Over N60 million naira was disbursed to the communities and groups to commence the implementation of the following chosen micro-projects, drilling of solar boreholes with an overhead tank, renovation of a health clinic, renovation of learning centre and provision of learning materials, the General Manager revealed.
Highlights of the occasion were goodwill messages from different stakeholders and cultural performance.
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