2021 World TB day: Nigeria ranks 1st in Africa

By Salihu Ali, Abuja

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Nigeria has been ranked number one in Africa and sixth in the world on the Tuberculosis mobility index.

The Coordinator National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme, Dr. Chukwuma Anyaike made the disclosure while rolling out planned activities marking 2021 World TB day to be celebrated on March 24.

He explained that Nigeria accounts for 11% of the global gap between TB incidences and notified cases.

Menace of tuberculosis
Dr. Chukwuma noted that out of 440,000 estimated new TB cases in Nigeria in 2019, only 120,266 were notified to the national Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme with 27% treatment coverage.

 

He said “when you put all this with the number of people affected you know that there is a problem but the good thing about Tuberculosis is that it is curable. So there is hope if we do the right thing to arrest the menace of Tuberculosis in the country”.

He warned Nigerians not to take TB for granted as it is a deadly disease. “TB is not a respecter of any person whether rich or poor because it cuts across all strata of life but is more with those with reduced immunity or nutrition and terminal diseases”, he said.

 

Curtailing spread of TB
Chukwuma identified the need for innovative approaches to TB, detecting new cases, arresting them through treatment and avoiding stigmatization as a strategy to curtailing the spread of Tuberculosis.

He urged government, NGO’s, health workers and other stakeholders to join efforts in changing the negative record and fighting the menace before 2022.

 

“All hand must be on deck if we must achieve the sustainable development goals and also join other countries in achieving the universal health coverage”, he added.

 

Killer disease
In her contributions, the Vice Chairman Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, Dr. Queen Ogbuji while highlighting activities to mark the World TB day in Nigeria, identified TB as number one infectious killer disease in the world and among the top ten causes of death worldwide.

She explained that one quarter of the world’s population is infected with TB adding that ten million people develop TB every year with approximately 1.1 million children and 860,000 people living with HIV are affected.

She added that three million people miss out of TB care and treatment.

 

Dr. Queen said “now more than ever we need redoubled efforts to raise awareness and ambitious commitments to mobilize the very needed resources to help achieve the UN high level mission target of ending TB by 2022.”

She identified awareness creation, addressing 70% domestic funding gap and facilitating inter-ministerial agency collaboration as priority focus.

 

Country representative of World Health Organization WHO, Dr. Walter Kazadi, TB team Leader USAID Nigeria, Dr. Temitayo Odusote and Executive Director KNCV TB foundation Nigeria, Dr. Bertrand Odume, re-affirmed commitments to collaborate with relevant organizations to end Tuberculosis in Nigeria.

The theme for the 2021 World TB day is ‘clock is ticking’ with a pidgin slogan: ‘cough fit be TB not Covid , check am ooo’.

 

Nneka Ukachukwu

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