Federal Government has commissioned GeneXpert, Mycobacterium tuberculosis/Rifampicin MTB/RIF machine for diagnosis and treatment of Tuberculosis (TB).
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole commissioned the Machine on Friday at the newly revitalized Healthcare Centre in Kuchingoro, a suburb in Abuja Municipal Area Council of the FCT as part of the activities to commemorate the 2017 World TB Day.
Adewole said that the World TB Day was a day set aside by the United Nations Organization to create more awareness on the burden of TB disease in the World. He added that diagnosis and treatment of TB shouldn’t be at tertiary hospitals alone, but it could be brought down to the primary healthcare centers at the community level.
Adewole Said: “World TB Day usually holds on the 24th of March every year, so we are celebrating a major event and also using it as an occasion to increase awareness on the disease that is afflicting hundred and thousands of Nigerians every year’’.
He stressed that Nigeria ranks number one in Africa in respect of the burden of the disease and third in the world. ‘’ We don’t want to continue with this type of problem, we really want to be a country where there is no TB and this would be our pride”. He added.
The Minister said that the Ministry of Health in partnership with Development Partners was increasing capacity to diagnose TB in the country.
Speaking on the inaugurated machine, he said: ‘’We started in 2011, with 7 GeneXpert Machines, we have over 200 as of now and our target is to have 1 in every local government and that would give us about 774, I believe with the support of you partners, we can get there one day soon”, Adewole assured.
The Minister expressed optimism that the present administration in collaboration with partners is determined to end TB by 2035.
In his remarks, the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire explained that Tuberculosis is a chronic illness which can affect all organs of the body, especially the lungs, adding that the most common symptom is stubborn cough of more than 2 weeks duration, which can include coughing up blood, weight loss, night sweat and fatigue among others.
However, the Minister noted that despite the huge challenges, the Ministry has made progress in the control of the disease through increase in access to free diagnosis and treatment services.
Earlier in her goodwill message, Dr.Maarten Van Cleeff of KNCV/Challenge TB said that the Foundation aimed at global elimination of TB through the development and implementation of effective, efficient and sustainable TB control strategies.
She said: ‘’the major challenge is to reach the people; we need to create awareness on TB, because for long TB had been on the back seat for too long.
While calling on all and sundry to unite and fight TB so that it would be a thing of the past, she assured of KNCV continued support for Nigeria’s TB control most especially at the grass root level.
Also in his goodwill message, the Director-General of NACA, Dr.Sani Aliyu commended the Honourable Minister of Health for his innovative skill which has brought transformation to the primary healthcare centers.
He however assured that NACA is standing side by side with the Ministry to eradicate TB and HIV in Nigeria.