Tuberculosis/ Katsina TB lives
Nigeria has made significant progress in implementing the 2018 UNHLM Tuberculosis mandate.

Nigeria’s TB Budget Has 70% Shortfall, Report Says

Despite being the second leading infectious killer globally, Nigeria’s yearly budget for Tuberculosis (TB) remains largely unfunded, with a staggering 70 per cent shortfall.

This was revealed in a report by the Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) Project, which highlighted a significant funding gap in Nigeria’s fight against Tuberculosis (TB).

SCALE findings indicate that out of the $388 million allocated for TB, a mere 6 per cent is domestically funded, while 24 per cent comes from donor agencies. This leaves a significant 70 per cent unfunded, posing a significant risk to the country’s efforts to combat the disease.

With Nigeria ranking first in Africa and sixth globally in TB burden, the consequences of this funding gap are dire, including increased mortality, unemployment, and economic recession. The situation is further compounded by the fact that 33 percent of TB patients lose their jobs within a year of treatment completion.

The National Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Control Programme (NTBLCP) reported 285,561 TB incidents in 2022, with a staggering 268 daily deaths and 98,000 yearly fatalities. The gender breakdown shows men accounting for 54 per cent of TB infections, women 39 per cent, and children 7 per cent.

The SCALE Project’s findings, which sounded an alarm, and urged increased domestic funding to address this critical public health issue.

The Project, unveiled at a recent media roundtable, sought to build the capacity of State TB programme managers, private sector representatives, and civil society organisations in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The meeting is aimed to empower stakeholders to engage with government officials and push for improved funding and policies to combat TB in Nigeria, was organized by Palladium under the Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) project, in partnership with the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Program (NTBLCP).

The participants advocated policy changes and increased funding for TB programmes at the state level, as well as highlighting the need for increased domestic funding to address the significant funding gap in Nigeria’s TB response, emphasized the critical role of advocacy in driving policy change and improving TB outcomes in the country.

The Director of Public Health, Cross Rivers State, Dr Jonah Bassey Ofor, explained that currently, efforts to diagnose and treat TB are heavily reliant on foreign donor funding, saying that these efforts are becoming increasingly unsustainable as donors face fatigue.

He noted that it is essential for the nation to take ownership of its responsibilities and allocate sufficient funds for TB diagnosis and management. He restated that while some states have made progress, with up to 100 per cent of TB care funding coming from donor partners, the country still faces challenges.

He said: “Although funds are being allocated in state budgets for TB activities, they are not being released, hindering our ability to effectively combat this disease. Tuberculosis disproportionately affects the impoverished segment of our population who lack the financial means to undergo TB testing.

“Therefore, TB treatment must be provided free of charge, from diagnosis to drug administration. This is the standard we’ve upheld in our country, where TB management is entirely free. Anyone diagnosed with TB is not expected to pay from diagnosis to treatment, which ensures that this critical care is accessible to all who need it. “We urge the timely release of budgeted funds to support TB control efforts and reduce our reliance on donor funding.”

SOURCE: The Guardian