The Global Fund, a key partner in the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme, NTBLCP, has raised alarm over the increasing cases of untreated Multiple Drugs Resistance – Tuberculosis, MDR-TB, in Nigeria.
The development, which is currently threatening the survival of an estimated 250 patients with untreated cases of MDR-TB, is believed to be a direct consequence of delays by the Federal government in releasing funds for procurement of the 2nd line drugs specifically required for treating MDR-TB, under the NTBLCP initiative.
The funding deficit coupled with the nation’s slow payment process for the 2nd line drugs,are allegedly causing a buildup of new patients waiting for the urgently required life-saving drugs and threatening the nation’s overall tuberculosis control effort
Already, fears are making the rounds of an imminent and total collapse of efficacy of the common first-line TB drugs such as Isoniazid and Rifampicin.
Data by the World Health Organisation, WHO, shows Nigeria is ranked 4th out of 22 countries with 75 per cent of the global burden of TB. About 36 per cent of TB cases are detected with over 60 per cent untreated in the country and the escalating cases of MDR-TB cases currently constitute a major source of worry.
Every year, an estimated three million TB cases are classified as undiagnosed, untreated and undocumented.
Raising concerns over the nations’ growing MDR-TB Drug crisis the Head, Grant Management Division, Global Fund, Mark Eldon-Edinton, urged Federal government to live up to its commitment and expedite action on the release of funds for treatment of the disorder.
In a letter to the Minister of Health, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu, who is Chairman, Country Coordinating Mechanism, CCM, Eldon-Edington strongly urged government to adopt an automatic procurement and payment method for 2nd line drugs in order to prevent future occurrence of the crisis.