Stakeholders in the nation’s health sector have expressed concern over the rising cases of tuberculosis in Nigeria Nigeria saying, an estimated number of 18 persons die every hour from TB.
To this end, they emphasised the need for a more innovative approach to curb the menace adding that TB is a deadly disease and should not be taken for granted.
Speaking while addressing journalists on the planned activities to mark the 2021 World TB day coming up on March 24, the Coordinator National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme, NTLCP, Dr. Chukwuma Anyaike noted that Nigeria is ranked the sixth country in the world with the highest number of Tuberculosis cases.
He said that out of the 440,000 estimated new TB cases in Nigeria in 2019, only 120,266 were identified and undergoing treatment.
Dr Anyaike who also revealed that the COVID-19 outbreak affected response to TB services said there is a wide gap existing between TB incidences and notified cases.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is in its second year and is unfortunately taking increasing medical resources and attention away from providing necessary life-saving diagnosis, medicine and care to people suffering from TB”.
He further warned Nigerians not to take TB for granted saying, 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.
“There is a 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.
“All hands must be on deck if we must achieve the sustainable development goals and also join other countries in achieving universal health coverage”, he said.
He added that Nigeria has a funding gap of $384million to fight TB. Earlier, the Country representative of World Health Organization WHO, Dr. Walter Kazadi, lamented that TB remains one of the world’s deadliest infectious killers.
Dr Kazadi added that global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 63 million lives since the year 2000.
She added that the theme of World TB Day 2021 – ‘The Clock is Ticking’ –conveys the sense that the world is running out of time to act on the commitments to end TB made by global leaders.
For his part, the Executive Director KNCV TB foundation Nigeria, Dr. Bertrand Odume, said they remain committed to end TB in Nigeria.
He added that it could be achieved with the collaborative efforts of Nigerians and relevant organizations.