‘The Country Director of KNCV, Dr. Bethrand Odume, has revealed that Tuberculosis kills at least 432 persons daily in Nigeria,
He said this during a press briefing on the Pre-World TB Day by the Stop TB Partnership Nigeria in Abuja.
According to him: “Despite significant progress over the last decades, Tuberculosis remains the world’s deadliest infectious killer, and require acceleration of efforts to end TB epidemic globally and in Nigeria.
“Each day, nearly 4,500 people lose their lives to TB and close to 30,000 people fall ill with this preventable and curable disease. Global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 58 million lives since the year 2000 and reduced the TB mortality rate by 42 percent. However, the emergence of drug-resistant TB poses a major health threat and could put at risk the gains made in efforts to end TB.
“In 2018, about 1.4 million people globally died of TB-related causes including over 205,000 children. And over 95 percent of TB deaths occurs in low and middle-income countries especially Africa.
“Nigeria is one of the countries with the high burden of disease globally. According to the 2018 Global TB Report, Nigeria is among the 30 high burden countries for TB, TB/HIV and MDR-TB. It ranked 6th among the 30 high TB burden countries and 1st in Africa.
“TB kills 18 Nigerians every hour. Also, forty-nine Nigerians develop active TB, seven of which are children, every hour. One of the major challenges of TB response in Nigeria is attributed to low TB case findings both in adult and children. This is as a result of low TB treatment coverage and poor knowledge about TB that influence the health seeking behaviour of people.
“To accelerate the TB response in countries to reach targets Heads of State including His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, came together and made strong commitments to end TB at the first-ever UN High Level Meeting in September 2018”.
In line with this year’s theme: It’s time to end TB in Nigeria, Odume called on all stakeholders to come together and collaboratively work towards ending the TB epidemic in the country.
National Coordinator of the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP), Adebola Lawanson, said: “TB burden is so huge in Nigeria and a lot of efforts have gone underway in the past to see that we fight this disease. The federal government in collaboration with partners provided quality patient-centered prevention treatment care and support that is totally free for the control of TB.
“Specifically, we have increased the number of diagnostic facilities which we call the gene Xpert machine, which has the capacity to diagnose not just the simple TB, but the complicated one which is called the drug-resistant TB.
“Over the years we started with a few numbers and right now we have over 399 scattered all over Nigeria. We know that Nigeria is big so our aspiration is to have one machine per local government.
“Right now we have 40 percent of our local government covered, however, right now there are efforts by donor organizations and the federal government to increase this number so that we can get to the universal health coverage that is being at articulated by the health sector.
“We have expanded the treatment of TB services to 12,254 healthcare facilities around the country – public and private. in addition TB services have been included in the primary health care minimum Health Care package to ensure achievement of universal health care to ensure access to care”.
According to the National Professional Officer in charge of TB at the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Ayodele Awe, “We have the highest burden in Africa, we are suppose to detect 429,000 each year, last year was the greatest number that has ever been detected over the ten years; we were able to detect 120,000 cases.
“Where are the 300,000 cases that are still coughing? Every undetected Tuberculosis case can spread the disease to 15 persons in a year. Multiply that with how many we have each year.
“There are free drugs everywhere, the target elimination for Tuberculosis is 2030, this is 2020, therefore, the progress we are making is not enough.
“The total number of funds needed for Tuberculosis each year is $278m, we are having only 8 percent as domestic. There is a huge gap of $157m gap that was suppose to help us for advocacy, for increasing service coverage.
“Tuberculosis is transmitted innocently, government needs to look at this infectious disease, every body is prone to Tuberculosis”