Paul Obi in Abuja
The Wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari Tuesday bemoaned Nigeria’s increasing rate of tuberculosis (TB), placing the country in first position first in Africa and fourth in the world in terms of tuberculosis.
She made the position at the national conference on TB organised by the Stop TB Partnership Nigeria (STBPN) and the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTLCP), stating that TB had continued to be the cause of several untimely deaths and as such the scourge must be tackled.
Mrs Buhari who also is an ambassador to the “Stop TB campaign”, contended that “Nigerians has occupied these positions due to its lowest detection rate when compared to other nations of the world and as such, 600,000 persons are infected by the disease annually and more disturbingly, 60 per cent of the affected are children.
Mrs Buhari, who was represented by the wife of the vice-president, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, said out of the over 600,000 cases, only 15 per cent were being detected as about 500,000 cannot access treatment and as a result die prematurely.
“Tuberculosis is the number one killer disease in Africa. Nigeria currently is currently number one in Africa and fourth in Africa. Statistics shows approximately 600,000 people become infected with tuberculosis in Nigeria every year. 60 per cent of these new infection affect children. Also, it is the common cause of death in persons living with HIV/children.
“The emergence of multi drug resistance TB is also not acceptable. It is also not acceptable that Nigeria has one of the lowest detection rates in the world. It is currently detecting only 15 per cent of TB cases. Over 170,000 Nigerians are dying from a preventable and accurable disease.” Buhari maintained.
Also speaking at the event, the UN special envoy, Mr Eric Goosby, stated that “a strong political will from the government and other stakeholders is needed and I’d delayed, the threat of tuberculosis would get worse if nothing is quickly done about it as recognising and prioritising the disease is not enough.”
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, on his part stated that government would continue improve treatment and preventative measures in order to arrest the prevalence of TB in the country.
Adewole harped on the need for concerted efforts between government and the private sector as a strategic way to tame the disease.