The U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with Abdul Samad Rabiu Africa Initiative (ASR) has completed the renovation of 10 Tuberculosis (TB) Directly Observed Treatment Short-Course (DOTS) centres.
The DOTS centres, renovated under the ASR HIV/TB Intervention Support programme, are in identified Primary Healthcare Centres across seven states including Lagos, Anambra, Oyo, Rivers, Kano, Bauchi and Katsina.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ASR Africa, with a donation of $500,000 drawn from the ASR Africa’s Fund for Social Development and Renewal, the partnership objectives included curbing TB and HIV in Nigeria.
It also involved addressing Sexual and Gender-based Violence (SGBV) through supporting survivors with the provision of dignity kits in USAID-supported Sexual Assault Response Centres (SARCs).
The facilities will provide life-saving services to patients for TB screening and treatment, as Nigeria faces a significant health challenge with a triple burden of TB, drug-resistant TB, and HIV-associated TB.
This places the country among the top 10 countries globally with the highest number of undetected TB cases.
Ms. Omosalewa Oyelaran, USAID/Nigeria Deputy Director HIV/AIDS and TB Office, spoke at the Official Handover Ceremony of Akinyele Primary Health Centre (PHC) Directly Observed Treatment Short-Course (DOTS) Centre, in Alimosho, Lagos, on Tuesday
Oyelaran was represented by Anne Patterson, the Mission Director, USAID Nigeria.
She said: “I am so pleased to be here today, on behalf of the U.S. government. To mark another milestone in the partnership between USAID and Abdul Samad Rabiu Africa Initiative – ASR Africa.
“This occasion is also an important opportunity to demonstrate our shared commitment to Nigeria’s impressive efforts to scale and innovate tuberculosis control, led by the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Program and Lagos state.
“Today, we celebrate the handover of important investments by ASR Africa in the national TB response, one of the 10 renovated Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) centres and the donation of 11 TB diagnostic machines across seven states where USAID is working to accelerate TB prevention, care and treatment efforts.”
She noted that USAID was actively engaging private sector partners in Nigeria to mobilise resources to counter diseases of public concern such as TB and to improve the quality of life among affected populations.
She said the partnership demonstrated how the private sector holds immense potential to catalyse sustainable results.
According to her, USAID has partnered with the Government of Nigeria in the national tuberculosis response since 2003 by funding interventions that galvanise the identification, diagnosis, and treatment of Nigerians with TB symptoms.
She said the partnership had contributed to a nearly 50 percent reduction in tuberculosis-related deaths.
Oyelaran also noted that the Nigerian TB programme had made huge strides toward achieving its UN High-Level targets. She assured that all individuals diagnosed with these machines would be placed on treatment for TB at TB DOT centres
Oyelaran commended ASR Africa for its commitment to education, health, and social development. She lauded the federal and state governments for creating an enabling environment for innovation and public-private partnership.
She also thanked the implementing partners, the Institute for Human Virology in Nigeria and KNCV, who worked hard to help realise this vision and all the frontline health workers who are saving lives and giving hope to people with TB.
Dr. Chukwuma Anyaike, the Director of Public Health, Federal Ministry of Health, said: “Our vision is for Nigeria to be free of TB and our goal is to End the TB epidemic in the country by 2030.
“Thus, we need to reduce the TB incidence rate from the current 219/100,000 population to less than 20/100,000 population and reduce the number of TB patients affected by catastrophic cost from 71 percent to zero percent by 2030.
“We cannot achieve this without the engagement of the private sector, other MDAs and the communities. This donation of equipment and renovation of the DOTs centre will enhance our drive towards achieving the set targets by 2030.
“We are indeed grateful to ASR Africa Initiative especially as it aligns with the renewed health agenda of the Honourable Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate,” Anyaike said
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of ASR Africa, Dr Ubon Udoh, spoke on behalf of the Chairman of ASR Africa, Abdul Samad Rabiu
He applauded the USAID team for their intervention and their partnership in the eradication of tuberculosis in the country.
He commended the governments of Kano, Rivers, Katsina, Bauchi, Anambra, Oyo, and Lagos states, and the respective agencies who worked to deliver on the project’s success.
He said with the installation of the TB machines, over 22,108 samples had already been taken in all the centres combined, out of which confirmed positive cases were receiving expert medical treatment.
Udoh reiterated the commitment of the Chairman of ASR Africa in investing resources towards tackling pressing developmental issues in health, education, and social development in Africa.
The Mosan Okunola LCDA Chairperson, Hon. (Princess) Olabisi Adebayo, said: “I would like to appreciate ASR Africa for bringing this health facility close to us to enable our people to access quick diagnosis and treatment.
“We will take ownership of this facility and embark on advocacy exercise within the LCDA to ensure proper education about the danger of tuberculosis and the available treatment courtesy of ASR Africa,” she said.