The Federal government has disclosed that Nigeria is ranked number one in high tuberculosis burden on Africa and fourth among 30 countries worldwide.
Professor Isaac Adewole, the Minister of Health has said that all hands are on deck by the Federal Ministry of Health to achieve the goal of providing one machine per local government area across the country in the fight against tuberculosis epidemic.
The Minister said this in Abakaliki during the inauguration and handover of a fully equipped Chest Clinic built by Agbami partners to the Ebonyi state government.
The Minister was represented by Professor Sunday Odueoye, the Medical Director, National Obstetric Fistula Centre.
“The machines would not only provide GeneXpert MTB/RIF technology as the primary diagnostic tool for tuberculosis among all presumptive tuberculosis cases in the country including people living with HIV/AIDS but it would also increase the number of notified tuberculosis cases, especially in the rural areas”, the Minister said.
The Chest Clinic was handed over to the Ebonyi state government by the Agbami partners, FAMFA Oil Limited, Petrobas, Statoil, Chevron and Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The Clinic would be used by the Mile Four Hospital, Abakaliki. The hospital was established by the Catholic Church to provide specialised care to sufferers of tuberculosis in the state and beyond.
Professor Isaac Adewole commended the initiative and contribution of the church in providing quality healthcare for the people and added that tuberculosis remains a serious public health problem in most parts of the world causing the death of nearly 1.5 million people each year and mostly in Third World countries.
He stated that the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration through the Federal Ministry of Health has taken steps to curb the spread of tuberculosis in Nigeria by introducing the use of the GeneXpert MTB/RIF technology as the primary diagnostic tool for tuberculosis among all presumptive tuberculosis cases in the country, increasing the number of facilities providing GeneXpert services from 7 in 2011 to 318 facilities before the end of 2016 and also providing guidelines, tools and SOPs to enhance tuberculosis control efforts.
In a separate remark, the Group General Manager of the National Petroleum Investment Management Services, Mr Dafe Sejebor who was represented by Uzo Ejidoh said the project was aimed at aiding the socio-development of the country and that the commitment of the agency is to improve the standard of living and quality of life for Nigerians daily.
“I am happy to note that the Agbami partners remain committed to improving the quality of healthcare in our society through the provision of infrastructure such as Chest Clinics to address chest-related ailments”, he added.
The Ebonyi state governor, Dave Umahi applauded the benefactors for the initiative and expressed hope that the Chest Clinic would help to address incidences of tuberculosis and other health related issues in the state.
The governor was represented by the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Daniel Umezurike.