Chevron, Others Spend N2.2bn on Chest Clinics to Fight TB in Nigeria

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Chineme Okafor in Abuja

Multinational oil company, Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) said that it has with its business partners in the Agbami oil field, invested N2.2 billion in the development of infrastructure and supply of medical equipment in different hospitals across Nigeria to fight the menace of Tuberculosis (TB) and other communicable diseases across the country.

The oil firm said that it started making this funding commitment from 2008, and its concern about the spread of the disease has made it and its Agbami partners sustain their support to the fight against it.

Speaking at the Tuberculosis Roundtable organised by the Stop TB Nigeria in Abuja, the Occupational Health Physician, CNL, Dr. Femi Pitan, stated that Chevron companies in Nigeria were committed to the socio-economic development of Nigeria through mutually-beneficial partnerships and supports for government’s efforts in health sector development.

Pitan, explained that from 2008, Star Deepwater Petroleum Limited, an affiliate of CNL and the parties to the Agbami field – Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Famfa Oil Limited, Statoil Nigeria Limited and Petroleo Brasileiro Nigeria Limited, have built, equipped and donated 25 chest clinics with 25 GeneXpert machines to government-owned hospitals across the country as part of their contribution to support the efforts to control, treat and eradicate TB from the country.

She stated that CNL and its Agbami parties’ strategic choice of intervention in TB was designed to achieve early detection and proper management of the disease, as well as other chest and lung diseases in Nigeria in alignment with Nigeria’s national strategy on this.

According to her, the TB intervention programme has generated more than 1,000 jobs and opportunities for people and local firms, in addition to organised practical training on molecular-genetic diagnostics of tuberculosis for over 100 laboratory attendants and supervisors from the chest clinics and Neighbouring hospitals in collaboration with the National TB Program as at 2014.

The National Coordinator of NTBLCP, Mrs. Adebola Lawanson, lamented that the current rate of financing for tuberculosis was very low, and need to be upgraded to enable the country prosecute the campaign against the disease.

Lawanson, explained that in 2017, the government declared that $336 million was needed to successfully prosecute the fight against the disease, but only nine per cent, about $31 million was contributed by it, while $90 million, representing 27 per cent of the total was contributed by international donor agencies, leaving a shortfall of $215 million.