POLITICS OF TUBERCULOSIS CONTROL PROGRAMME IN RIVERS STATE, NIGERIA, 2001 – 2010
This study interrogates the role of politics in tuberculosis (TB) control services in Rivers State, Nigeria. It raises questions about how the exercise of political power through the nature of the allocation and distribution of resources affects the effective implementation of the tuberculosis control programme in Rivers State, and its attendant implications for the populace. It draws on both qualitative and quantitative methods such as content analysis of documents and questionnaire for data collection; and a combination of qualitative and quantitative descriptive approach for data analysis. Adopting the Marxian Political Economy theory as a guide, the main finding is that there is very weak political commitment to the tuberculosis control programme, such that financial resources was allocated to the tuberculosis control services only once for the study period. The study equally uncovers that no legislative framework exists for the tuberculosis control services. The findings also indicate that the government has not embarked on any form of advocacy that will contribute to improve on the services of the programme, as well as that there are health implications from the implementation of the tuberculosis control services. Thus, it is recommended that government should improve on her political commitment to the programme, take proper ownership of the programme through the enactment of a legislative framework for it, provide adequate financial resources in her annual budget and release it for the programme; embark on advocacy for the programme to attract support for it, as well as forge partnerships (local and international) to enhance effective implementation of the programme, in order to change its fortune and mitigate the impacts on the society.