IHVN CEO calls for continued partnership to end TB
As the world marks World Tuberculosis Day, the Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN), Dr. Patrick Dakum, has stressed the need for continued partnership to end TB in Nigeria.
Dr. Dakum, who was represented by the IHVN Associate Director Global Fund Programs, Dr. Aderonke Agbaje, said this at an event to commemorate the day in Primary Health Center (PHC) Kuchigoro, Abuja. He noted that the Gene Xpert machine that the Institute donated to the PHC will ease diagnosis of tuberculosis and drug resistant tuberculosis. “This laboratory was put in place in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health. Averagely, it costs $20,000 to set it up,” he said.
He said that the Institute is collaborating with community-based organizations to create awareness about TB and this has resulted in house-to-house outreaches to collect samples. “We have community health workers that take samples to gene Xpert laboratories. When results are out, they take it to the nearest health facility,” he said.
Dr. Dakum also assured the Federal Ministry of Health, other partners and the Kuchigoro community of its continuous support for efforts to end tuberculosis, multi-drug resistant tuberculosis and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis.
Earlier on at the event, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole commended the efforts of partners that has resulted in improved diagnosis and treatment of TB. “This disease is afflicting hundreds of thousands of Nigerians every year and as we have been told, we are number one in Africa with respect to the burden of the disease and 4th in the world. As you know, we are increasing our capacity with the help of our partners to improve our ability to diagnose TB. We started in 2011 with seven gene Xpert machines. We have over 300 as of now. Our target is to have one in every local government.”
The theme and slogan for this year’s World TB Day commemoration is “Unite to End TB in Nigeria” and, “Accelerating TB Case Finding and Treatment” respectively. It was marked with week-long activities including a community outreach at new Kuchigoro IDP camp on Monday, a road walk and show to create awareness about TB on Thursday and the launch of a Gene Xpert machine at Primary Health Center Kuchigoro by the Honorable Minister of Health on Friday.
The Institute’s laboratory staff were also on hand at the health center in Kuchigoro to test community members for TB using the newly launched Gene Xpert machine.