Experts have said that the role of civil societies in the case management of tuberculosis cannot be undermined in communities as they continue to play major roles in identifying victims.

Speaking at a virtual conference organized by a civil society group in partnership with Stop TB Programme with the theme ‘Integrating community system strengthening for effective HIV, Malaria and Tuberculosis response,’ Acting Board Chairman of Stop TB, Dr Ayodele Awe said the meeting was apt.

He said civil society plays a prominent and important role in national development, particularly at the community level.

Also emphasizing the need for community engagement, a team member, National TB and Leprosy Programme, Dr Emperor Ubochioma said the community has to do with everyone, hence the need to engage with civil societies at the community level to address the threat of tuberculosis amidst the emergence of COVID-19.

He said with the over 75 per cent of TB cases unidentified across states, it would be productive if community leaders are engaged with a strategic plan to ensure adequate participation at the community level so that there can be evidence and data to support the treatment of tuberculosis in the country.

He said the response to HIV, malaria and other dreaded diseases in this Covid-19 era remains a key strategy towards adequate case finding for improved health care delivery.

Ubochioma added that relevant stakeholders need to come on board to engage in discussions, advocacy, sensitization and community awareness that will pave the way to contain the spread of the dreaded disease at the community level, especially in areas where there are no or less access to treatment programmes.