IHVN TO LEAD PRIVATE SECTOR ENGAGEMENT TO FIGHT TUBERCULOSIS

By PRUDENCE IJAH, Abuja

The Institute of Human Virology of Nigeria (IHVN) says the recently signed public private mix (PPM) agreement with Global fund is to increase the involvement of private sector providers in finding missing Tuberculosis cases in Nigeria.

The Program Manager for the Global fund Tuberculosis grant working with IHVN Dr Vivian Ibeziakwu said the institute is leading private sector engagement in the fight against Tuberculosis and to ensure that all missing Tuberculosis cases are reached with care and treatment.

Ibeziakwu added that private providers are not aware of what TB treatment entails, hence IHVN will work with partners, provide support for the partners and ensure that missing TB cases are discovered.

According to Ibeziakwu, “the public private mix grant is working only in 20 states. The global fund is getting more focused by ensuring that presumptive cases are discovered and linked up. We have a high number of TB cases in Nigeria and the first point of call for TB cases is private providers. Private providers are those in the rural areas, 60% of Nigerians receive care from private providers hence the focus”.

“Most people have cough duration that can be queried to be TB, but these cases are missed because they are not reporting to public providers. Hence the need to partner with private providers” She said.

IHVN will work with partners and sub receipents, identify new cases, notification application for TB cases into the system and find easy ways of involvement.

The strategies includes to build capacities of private providers to enable them manage TB cases and put them on treatment, they will be trained on how to identify TB cases and refer for treatment, and this will lead to the scale up of TB services in the country.

We will engage linkage coordinators, through our partners to ensure that the TB national and state programs are properly linked up. The PPM will be linked to the notifications and e-TB manager to ensure that the documentations on the data base are properly utilized.

She however advised Nigerians to ensure that once they have cough for over two weeks, they should go ahead and have a test to be sure it is not TB and if it is TB, they should start treatment immediately.

You will recall that the minister of state for health Dr. Osagie Ehanire
formally signed an agreement with the Global Fund to Fight HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria (GFATM) for funding support of $71,216,215 to accelerate efforts in controlling TB epidemic in Nigeria for the period 2019 – 2020.

Globally, tuberculosis ranks as the ninth leading cause of death worldwide and the leading cause of death from a single infectious agent, ranking above HIV/AIDS (WHO Global TB Report 2018). Hence, making it a threat to any country with high burden of the disease.

Nigeria has the highest burden of Tuberculosis in Africa and the 6th highest globally. Every hour, it is estimated that 47 Nigerians develop active TB, seven (7) of them are children. More worrisome is the fact that, every hour 18 Nigerians including women and children also die of TB, a disease that is preventable and curable.

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