By Bukola Afeni
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has said it is offering series of technical support to the government of Nigeria including the deployment of Artificial Intelligence towards reducing the burden of Tuberculosis in the country.
This was disclosed by the Representative of USAID Nigeria, Dr Rupert Eneogu at a Pre-world TB Day press conference by Stop TB Partnership and National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Program (NTBLCP) in Abuja.
According to Eneogu, the agency is has deployed artificial intelligence in addition to other interventiosn to improve active case findings of Tuberculosis in communities.
“We will continue to strengthen the effort towards reducing the burden of TB in Nigeria. We are utilizing gene expert machines to detect TB. We also support sample movement to areas where there is no gene expert machine. We will continue to expand access to TB diagnosis,” he said.
Meanwhile, experts in the health sector present at the event used the occasion to call on the Government and the organised private sector to increase funding for the Tuberculosis control in Nigeria.
The Executive Director of KNCV TB Foundation Nigeria, and Chair of, the 2023 World TB Day Planning Committee, Dr Bethrand Odume, said funding for TB has remained a key challenge to support program activities towards closing the TB treatment coverage gap which stood at 66% as at the end of 2021.
“We will continue to reach out to government and the private sector to galvanise efforts at increasing domestic resources for the control of TB in Nigeria. At a 69% funding gap, and over-reliance on external donor agencies for funding, sustaining the TB program in Nigeria will continue to remain a challenge”, he added.
He said at the country level, Nigeria is targeting more men to create awareness and reduce known morbidity about TB.
The National Coordinator National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Program, Dr Chukwuma Anyaike, noted that the federal government will continue to strengthen partnerships towards ending Tuberculosis in Nigeria.
He added that Nigeria has made continuous progress towards ending TB compared to previous years.
“We will not relent in our efforts, we need to create more awareness in the media. We know that awareness creation will aid in making a positive impact. We want the media practitioners to inform Nigerians that Tuberculosis is curable and preventable,” he said.