Nigeria Ranks Among 22 Countries with Severe Tuberculosis Cases, Highest in Africa

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Okon Bassey in Uyo

Nigeria is said to be among 22 countries of the world highly rated with severe cases of tuberculosis and the highest in Africa.

This was contained in a release issued in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital by the Nigeria Thoracic Society (NTS) to mark this year’s World Tuberculosis Day, theme ‘Wanted: Leader for a TB-Free World’.

The President of NTS, Professor Etete Peters in the release indicated that a third percentage of the world population was infected with mycobacterium tuberculosis and a new infection recorded every second.

He said TB remains the world’s leading infectious killer, being responsible for the deaths of nearly 1.7 million people each year and representing the ninth leading cause of death globally.

According to him, the theme of World TB Day 2018 – ‘Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free world’, focuses on building commitment to end TB, not only at the political level with Heads of State and Ministers of Health, but at all levels from Mayors, Governors, parliamentarians.

“Others also in focus include community leaders, people affected with TB, civil society advocates, health workers, doctors or nurses, NGOs and other partners; as all can be leaders of efforts to end TB in their own work or terrain.

Peters who was the immediate past Chief Medical Director (CMD) of University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH), said TB affects the economically productive age group in the community, thereby affecting productivity.

More worrisome according to him, is the fact that about one in three people with TB are never diagnosed and in Nigeria the proportion of missed cases is as high as 50 per cent. This means they will not be treated and they will continue to transmit the disease in the community.

Peters maintained that the focus on this year war against TB falls in line with the Sustainable Development Goals set by the End TB Strategy and the Global Plan to End TB, 2016-2020; aiming to eliminate TB by 2035.

“It challenges us to look at the fight against TB in an entirely new way: that every step we take should be a step that counts for people and will lead us towards TB elimination,” he stressed.

He explained that the Nigerian Thoracic Society, a body of professional with expertise in lung and chest diseases has been working and collaborating with major stakeholders in order to ensure universal access to TB care.

“NTS, among other activities, has been working hard on innovative approaches to treatment and formulation of guidelines that are well suited and evidence based for our locality adding that the Society will continue its community mobilisation and public education on various chest diseases including TB,” the NTS President said.